Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fried Green Tomatoes

Have you ever seen the movie Fried Green Tomatoes? I saw it once when I was young, probably around 9 years old. It's haunted me ever since. I won't spoil any plot points (mostly because it's all sort of fuzzy now) but don't even think of watching this movie if you don't have a full box of tissues and access to a puppy to cheer you up after watching.

Actual fried green tomatoes are much less sad. In fact, I would go so far as to call them joyful. At least that's how I felt as I was eating 7 of them. The secret is double battering the slices in a cornmeal-flour mixture. And hot sauce-laced buttermilk never hurt. Let's get to it.

You'll need: Green tomatoes, salt, pepper, all-purpose flour, cornmeal (yellow or white), an egg, and buttermilk. Generally you can find green tomatoes at your farmer's market, or at least I did. As you can see they're not totally green anymore, but they were still solid as a rock so no bigs.

You can't have fried green tomatoes without a dipping sauce! The standard is a buttermilk ranch, but I wanted something a little mustardy. So we've got: Pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Duke's mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and our buttermilk from before with my favorite Crystal hot sauce added.

 Mix the mayo and the mustard together.

 Add your spices.

And stir in a tablespoon of the spicy buttermilk. The rest of the buttermilk will go toward the tomatoes.

For the tomatoes, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish like a pie plate.

Take a fork and break up the egg in the hot sauced buttermilk.

Slice the tomatoes to about 1/3" thick. If one slice happens to be a little thicker (ahem, like the one in the front), life will go on. But generally aim for a third of an inch.

Coat the slices in the flour mixture.

Knock of any excess flour before moving to the buttermilk.

Dip it in the buttermilk mixture.

And back into the flour. Totes necessary. Again, knock off the excess flour before you fry them.

You want your oil to be about 360º. You only want to do a few slices at a time so that the temperature of the oil doesn't go down too much. If you try to fry too much at once you'll just end up with a greasy mater. Bleh. But we don't play that game. Our maters are crisp.

When the slices are golden brown on both sides, about 8 minutes total, remove them from the pan with tongs. Let some of the oil drip off before draining them on a cooling rack or paper towels. Immediately sprinkle the hot tomatoes with a little salt.

These are best when eaten immediately, but you can help keep them crisp by heating your oven to 350º, turning it off, and keeping the tomatoes in the warm oven.

 I'm counting the days until I can go to the farmer's market. While I love fried green tomatoes on their own, this isn't the last you've seen of them. Oh no. I've got sandwiches in mind. Appetizers for a cozy gathering. You'll see.

The cornmeal crust is perfectly crisp against the juicy, tangy tomato. The hot sauce in the buttermilk gives a nice kick along with the pepper in the breading. I these little guys. I really could eat them every day of the week.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Buttermilk-Mustard Dipping Sauce (serves 3-4)

3 green tomatoes, sliced 1/3" thick
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 tsp black pepper, divided
1 egg
1 c buttermilk
1 tsp hot sauce
1/2 c mayonnaise (Recommended: Duke's)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
Canola oil for frying
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling

  • Start by making the dipping sauce. Combine the buttermilk and hot sauce in the measuring cup. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Add a tablespoon of the buttermilk mixture. Reserve the rest for the tomatoes. Set the dipping sauce aside.
  • Begin heating 1/2" of oil in a cast iron skillet. Set up a station to drain the tomatoes, either a plate with paper towels or a cooling rack on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. 
  • Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, and the remaining pepper in a shallow dish. In a small bowl combine the reserved buttermilk mixture with the egg. Beat the egg into the buttermilk lightly. 
  • When the oil reaches 360º, begin preparing the tomatoes. Dredge each tomato slice in the flour mixture, knocking off the excess. Dip each slice in the buttermilk mixture, letting the excess drip off, then dredge it in the flour mixture again. Carefully drop the slices in the oil, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Four slices at a time is ideal. Fry about 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove with tongs and drain on your prepared rack or plate. Immediately sprinkle the hot fried tomatoes with the flaky sea salt. Serve immediately with dipping sauce. Fried green tomatoes may be kept warm a short time by placing in an oven that has been heated to 350º and then turned off.

No comments:

Post a Comment