Yesterday was the last day of summer. It felt appropriate to go out to the garden early in the morning and pick some of our green tomatoes to fry up for lunch.
Our Roma and Brandywine tomato plants are continuing to flower and produce well through this heat but all my green ‘maters are still pretty tiny. Most people think of those gigantic heirloom tomatoes, green and sliced thick for frying. Those are preferable, but I used what I had waiting on me out my front door.
Fried green tomatoes are a delicacy in the South. There are a lot of recipes out there for them and every Southerner who knows their way around a kitchen will tell you that they have perfected the art of frying them up. I decided to review some recipes and find “The One”.
I like to keep my recipes simple; fried green tomatoes don’t need to be “dressed up” with spices since they have a unique tart flavor. That’s the reason Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes (II) recipe won my heart, once again.
These fried green tomatoes can stand alone as a simple lunch or can be added to pretty much anything delicious: grilled cheese, BLTs, po’ boys, on a biscuit, or served with a side like remoulade or pimiento cheese.
A few tomato tips for you (that I’ve learned the hard way):
1. Don’t store tomatoes (ripe or green) in the fridge. It causes the tomatoes to lose their flavor, which explains why the tomatoes you buy from the grocery store are usually mushy and flavorless.
2. Once you’ve sliced green tomatoes, salt them and pat them dry with a paper towel. This helps draw out excess moisture so your batter will stick well.
3. And finally, Fannie Flagg’s advice: “Don’t crowd the skillet when frying green tomatoes. Keep them in a single layer, with plenty of space in between slices. If too many are put in the pan, the oil temperature will be lowered and the food will absorb the grease rather than be seared by it, resulting in soggy tomatoes.”
Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes II recipe
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- 1/3 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 to 8 green tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- Bacon drippings, vegetable oil, or mixture of both (for frying)
- Mix egg and buttermilk in a shallow dish.
- Mix flour, cornmeal, and salt in a shallow dish.
- Working in batches, dip tomato slices into egg mixture, allowing excess to drip back into dish.*
- Coat with flour mixture.
- Fry in hot bacon drippings/vegetable oil in heavy skillet until browned, turning once with tongs.
- Transfer to colander to drain.**
*I first salt my tomato slices and pat them dry with a paper towel so the batter will stick well. It has always worked for me!
**I always let mine drain on a wire rack so they aren’t touching.
I posted on the Leseberg Holler Facebook page when I started “research” for the perfect fried green tomato recipe and a lady named Miss Nancy commented that she liked them with a cajun dipping sauce.
I found this recipe for a Cajun Remoulade Sauce but unfortunately I didn’t have a few of the ingredients on hand to try it yesterday, which had me searching my recipe box for a sauce that would pair well with my fried green tomatoes.
Then, I remembered a sauce recipe I found years ago on Simply Scratch. I’ve served this on burgers, salads, and with seafood many times over the years and had a hunch it may be perfect with these ‘maters! (I was right)
Special Sauce for Everything recipe from Simply Scratch
Combine the following ingredients in a bowl and keep in the fridge until ready to serve:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons French dressing
- 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely minced onion (or a few pinches of onion salt)
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
(Haven’s little hand darted in to this frame and I had to keep it. This is evidence my daughter will actually eat tomatoes, though she had no idea that’s what it was.)