Even a Yankee can make fried green tomatoes. The trick is to find one recipe out of all the “this is the only way to make fried green tomatoes” recipes out there. There are hundreds of them on websites, blogs and even in blog comments. People get real feisty about fried green tomatoes, insisting that the way their grandmother made them is the BEST way and ONLY way to make them.
Why did I even trespass into the cut-throat world of fried green tomatoes? The other day I noticed that our one sad tomato plant that survived the summer in the shade had about six medium green tomatoes still hanging on. The nights are getting colder and the sun more scarce so it seemed unlikely they would ever redden. Jim was making steak for dinner. Wouldn’t fried green tomatoes make a good side? Oh, yes, they did.
I found this recipe on the Food Network website. I like the fact that it uses a three-bowl dredging method with cornmeal and spices as the final coat. I adapted the recipe a bit, increasing the cornmeal ratio in the last bowl. The original recipe calls for onion powder as part of the cornmeal mix, but I didn’t have any, so I substituted jerk seasoning because its first ingredient is onion. You could also try Old Bay, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder or parmesan cheese in the cornmeal mix. Buttermilk could be substituted for the milk.
We ended up with more fried green tomato slices than we could eat so I’ve been finding other ways to enjoy them:
- A warm breakfast sandwich of fried green tomato slices, fried egg, bacon and cheese.
- A cold sandwich of fried green tomato slices, bacon, lettuce, cheese, sriracha and mayo.
- Layer fried green tomato slices with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese and heat until the cheese melts.
- I’ll run out before trying this, but another option is to reheat them in the oven, then dip into ranch dressing or some other sour cream concoction.
Fried Green Tomatoes
- 4 medium unripe green tomatoes, sliced 1/4” thick or less
- 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons celery salt
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon onion powder, Old Bay, Cajun or jerk seasoning
- 3/4 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika
- Vegetable oil
In the first bowl, add 3/4 cup flour.
In the second bowl, whisk the milk and egg. Add some hot sauce if you’d like more heat.
In the third bowl, whisk together the remaining flour, cornmeal, salt, celery salt, cayenne, pepper, onion powder and paprika.
Heat at least 1/2” of oil in a large skillet. In batches, dredge both sides of the tomato slices in the flour and shake off the excess. Then dip and turn them in the egg/milk bowl and let the excess drip off. Next dredge them in the cornmeal mixture, turning it over a few times to make sure it adheres.
Once you have a batch done, carefully place them in the hot oil. The first one should sizzle after you put it in, if not, wait a bit for the oil to heat before adding the rest. Use tongs to drop them so you don’t burn your fingers with splashing fat. You may have to move the pan on and off the burner if you have a funny stove like I do, so that they don’t darken too quickly.
Turn them over once the bottom side of the tomato slice is light brown. Remove them from the pan once they’re completely light brown and let them drain on a plate lined with paper towels. As the tomato slices cook, they will lose their firmness and become soft, another sign that they’re done.
Adapted from The Food Network