As someone who grew up in the Northeast U.S., it took me a while to understand that “Fried Green Tomatoes” wasn’t just a quirky name for a movie that I never watched, but that my wife insists is absolutely fantastic. I always thought you eat tomatoes when they’re red because that’s pretty much the only way we ever see them in the grocery store. It wasn’t until I took a trip down to North Carolina where I saw Fried Green Tomatoes on the menu and finally tried them that I understood what I had been missing all these years. A green tomato is firmer than a ripe red one, which provides an awesome crunch that is also a little more sour and tangy than their red counterparts.
As I mentioned, it’s pretty difficult to find green tomatoes at the local grocery store, so you may need to hit up your farmers markets, farm stands, or do what I do and get a mother in law with not only a green thumb, but a whole green hand to hook you up. This recipe is really easy and after some research there is a lot of debate about the proper way to make these tomatoes. Some people like the tomatoes sliced thin, while others prefer them thicker. Some people like the tomato cooked throughout while others enjoy the crunch of a barely cooked tomato. There are even arguments about the proper way to bread the tomatoes using buttermilk instead of eggs and whether or not to use anything more than just flour. With that said, this is just one way to prepare these delicious emerald vegetal slices and you should experiment by making these different ways until you find your favorite. Then you can hop on the recipe boards and argue with everyone else about it.
Try some of these other recipes to go with your tomatoes:
I suggest making the sauce before frying the tomatoes. Mix all of the ingredients for the sauce together in a small container. It’s that easy. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.
Directions for the Fried Green Tomatoes
Wash and cut the tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. First, slice the top and bottom off of the tomatoes and discard those pieces (for those of you that don’t know, the top is where the vine attaches to the tomato). Then slice your tomatoes in the same direction as taking the top off. Some people might argue that 1/2 inch slices are too thick, but personally, I think that if you cut them thinner you get a less hearty tomato slice that is mostly breading and that cooks through too much, which leaves the tomatoes soggy.
Next, it’s time to assemble the breading station. In a plate or bowl place 1/4 cup of flour.
In another plate or bowl place 1/4 cup of cornmeal, 1/4 cup of seasoned breadcrumbs, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper.
In a small or medium bowl crack one egg and whisk it with a fork or metal whisk until the yolk and whites are well incorporated.
First, dredge a slice of tomato into the flour so that it is well coated. (As you can see in the picture, I used a paper plate for easy cleanup. Don’t tell my wife! She hates it when I use paper plates!).
Repeat this process with all of the tomato slices. You probably won’t use all of the flour, but if you do, just add more and keep going.
Next, coat a slice of tomato well in the egg wash. Make sure to cover the whole tomato, but be careful not to knock too much flour off. When done, immediately move the dipped slice to the plate or bowl with the cornmeal and flour mix.
After the egg wash, drop the tomato slice into the cornmeal and breadcrumb mix. Coat the entire slice very well, but also be careful not to knock off too much breading because it can easily slide off of the tomato’s waxy skin.
When all of the tomatoes are coated with the breading, place 1/2 cup of oil in a medium sized frying pan on the stove over medium-high heat. You want the oil to get to about 350 degrees before you start frying. If you’re not sure what the temperature is, then set the stove to medium-high and test the oil periodically. There are a few methods for this. The first is to wait until you see the surface of the oil just start to shimmer. Another method is to dip the handle of a wooden cooking spoon into the oil and if you see bubbles around the spoon handle, then the oil is ready. The last method is to simply drop a very small amount of breading into the oil and wait for it to start bubbling.
When the oil is ready fill the pan with tomatoes, but make sure none of them are touching. My pan held about 4 slices at a time, but yours may be different depending on the size.
These tomatoes will fry up really quickly, so be watchful and ready to flip them or remove them from the oil. Depending on your oil, you might be looking at about 1.5 minutes per side. Just check the tomatoes. Once they are golden brown on one side, flip them and get the other side to the same color. Be watchful because they can go from golden to almost burned very quickly. I learned this lesson the hard way.
When the tomatoes are done in the frying pan remove them to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil or a cooling rack. Those tomatoes in the back of the picture below are the guys that got a little too much color. They were still pretty delicious, but not quite as perfect as the golden brown ones.
The tomatoes are ready to serve immediately.
If you’re so inclined, whip up a quick batch of the remoulade sauce and serve it alongside the tomatoes as a dipping option.
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