03 October 2010

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried green tomatoes have a long tradition of being a staple on southern tables, but really became famous in other parts of the US with the release of Fannie Flagg's book and then the movie of the same name. (Fabulous book and movie, btw. I love Jessica Tandy If you haven't seen it, get yourself over to your local movie rental store or Netflix or whatever and do try to watch it.) This is the time of year when many people will begin to eat fried green tomatoes. The time when the garden is winding down and the nights are getting cool enough that the last of the tomatoes are not going to ripen. I know growing up that my grandfather never picked green tomatoes while they were growing. Probably because he wanted to enjoy as many fresh garden tomatoes as possible. I, however, am willing to use a few green tomatoes during the growing season occasionally to have this treat.

There are a number of recipes for fried green tomatoes, but growing up I didn't know that. Everyone I knew cooked them the same way. As green tomatoes have begun to show up in restaurants and such in the last decade or so, I see them battered, dipped in panko, etc. To me all of that is too much breading. This is a dish where the flavour of the tomato should shine and not be overpowered by a thick coating.

If you've never had fried green tomatoes, I want to assure you that they couldn't be easier to make.

The best food starts with the best ingredients. My go-to cornmeal is stone ground and comes from Falls Mill in Belvidere, TN. Falls Mill is about an hour from our house and is owned by dear friends that we have known many years. Their milled products are absolutely wonderful. And they ship!!!

Local tomatoes from my CSA veggie box

And the only other ingredient we really need is salt.

To use a phrase my grandmother would have said, "Slice up a mess of green tomatoes."

Look at that lucious green goodness. (I could really blow up this shot and do a Georgia O'Keefe style print.)

Seasoned cornmeal (I added some black pepper and cayenne along with the salt.)

Cooking in the hot oil in the only proper utensil for such - a cast iron skillet. Mine belonged to my great-grandmother and is over 100 years old. Actually, this is more oil than I normally use, but I accidentally poured too much. As Julia Child would have said (at least if I hadn't made a photo and posted it on the web!), "Don't worry about it. You will be the only one to see." LOL

Cooked and draining on a paper towel:

And served up for brunch with some challah pain perdu. The plate is Ebonette, by Knowles. It's a midcentury pattern that belonged to my mother-in-law. She had been telling me for a couple of years now that I needed to bring it home the next time I went to her house, so last month I did. I am really going to miss her.

Fried Green Tomatoes
This is a recipe that everyone I know just makes. No one really has any proportions written down.

green tomatoes
salt, pepper and cayenne
oil for frying

Core the tomatoes and slice less than 1/2" thick. Season the cornmeal with salt, pepper and cayenne, to taste and mix. Dredge the tomatoes in the cornmeal mixture and cook in hot oil till golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Notes: I store leftover seasoned cornmeal in a Ziploc bag in the fridge to use another time.

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RushEmily said...

Mmmmmm! I've decided to cook something new each day of November and this is going to have to make the list!!

Becky said...

Emily, heaven in your mouth! I could eat fried green tomatoes every day of my life and not get tired of them. But alas, healthy good sense prevails and I only eat them a few times a year. LMK how you like them when you try them.

Craig Miyamoto said...

I'm just going to have to find me a mess of green tomatoes. I haven't had fried green tomatoes in Hawaii yet. Tennessee, yes. Alabama, yes. But not Hawaii.

Ces said...

I never had fried green tomatoes. I don't know where to get them down here. They always remind me of Kathy Bates in that movie.

Becky said...

Craig, I hope you can find green tomatoes there on your island.

Ces, our grocery stores sometimes have them in the produce section by the regular tomatoes. Or you might try a farmer's market.

Good luck to both of you!