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Fried Green Tomatoes

October 18, 2015 | By | Reply More

fried green tomatoes

Sometimes, it’s not inspiration I need, it’s a figurative swift kick in the pants. And that’s precisely what I got last weekend when I was spending time in the vegetable garden on a sunny and cool fall day. That kick in the pants resulted in a very tasty addition to our Sunday supper: fried green tomatoes.

My garden tells me what to eat. Since Mr. President and I got into local eating years ago, we eat what’s available from our garden or the local farmers market with careful thought to what’s in season. So, I’m often cooking meals from a closed set of options, even though those options are plenty to keep us satisfied.

We have a potential first frost in just a couple of days, so I’m frantically trying to get the garden cleaned up. I’d rather cut plants down before they get mushy from the frost. I also think the plant has a more dignified end, going out on a high instead of being allowed to turn into a droopy black mess. It was on this sunny day last weekend that I was beginning to take out some of my tomato plants. One of them had several perfect, large green tomatoes that I immediately knew should be sliced, breaded in cornmeal and panko for extra crunch, and deep fried.

fried green tomatoesThis is adapted from a Pat and Gina Neely recipe I found on Epicurious. I whipped up a dilly, lemony mayonnaise dip to go with the fried green tomatoes. If you don’t like mayonnaise, there’s no need to make that face. Simply skip the dip and sprinkle on a few drops of hot sauce, if you like.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

4 large, firm unripe green tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup cold buttermilk, preferably full-fat

Dash of hot sauce

fried green tomatoes3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs

Vegetable or canola oil, for frying

Step one:

4 large, firm unripe green tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup cold buttermilk

Dash of hot sauce

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs

fried green tomatoesPreheat your oven to its lowest setting so you can keep fried tomato slices warm while cooking the next batches. If you have wire cooling racks, like the kind you would use to cool freshly baked cookies, set those atop a rimmed baking sheet. This set up is perfect for keeping just-fried foods warm because air can circulate around the food, keeping it crisp and preventing it from getting soggy sitting in oil. If you don’t have the racks, you will simply drain the fried green tomatoes on paper towels and then transfer them to a baking sheet in the oven.

Season the tomato slices with a little sprinkle of salt and pepper. Set up your “assembly line.” Place the flour on a plate or wide, shallow bowl. Combine the buttermilk and hot sauce in another wide, shallow bowl. Finally, combine the cornmeal and panko and put the mixture on a third plate. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

One at at time, dip each slice first into the flour, pressing down to lightly coat both sides. Then, give each slice a dip in the buttermilk. Finally, dredge the slice in the cornmeal-Panko mixture coating it as completely as possible. As you work, place the breaded slices onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.

Step two:

Vegetable or canola oil, for frying

Heat about 1/2-3/4 inch of oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. This will take several minutes and you want the oil to be good and hot before you begin cooking. To test the oil, drop a couple of large Panko crumbs into the oil. If they immediately sizzle around the edges, you’re ready to fry.

Working in batches and without crowding the skillet, drop a few tomato slices into the hot oil using tongs. Be careful of hot oil splatters. Fry them until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. You can turn the slices over during cooking with your tongs. When finished, fish each slice out of the skillet and place either on your rack-lined baking sheet or paper towels to drain. Sprinkle immediately with a little salt and pepper, and move to the oven to keep warm. Continue until all slices are fried.

fried green tomatoesServe warm with lemon dill mayo (recipe follows), if desired. Fried green tomatoes are a wonderful accompaniment to spicy stews on a cold night. They are also fabulous with eggs for breakfast, piled on a fried green tomato BLT, or topping a salad.

Lemon Dill Mayo Dipping Sauce

Simply mix 1/2 cup good mayonnaise with 1 heaping tablespoon of freshly chopped dill and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Season dip with salt and pepper. I use Sir Kensington’s mayonnaise if I don’t have homemade mayo on hand. In fact, it’s the only prepared mayo I will eat!

Memo from the Resourcefulness Department: if you don’t use all of your dipping sauce, try thinning it out with a little more lemon juice and buttermilk to make a fine dressing in case you want your fried green tomatoes on a crisp salad.


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Category: Fall, Food, General, Recipes, Side Dishes

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