Monday, July 22, 2013

Fried Green Tomatoes

My daughter-in-law brought ripe tomatoes from her garden on our camping trip.  I don’t have ripe tomatoes yet, so I think I’ll have to go with the green ones while I’m waiting and waiting.  I’ll share a vintage recipe that I found and then share how I make mine.  I’ll also give you a couple of variations.

1881 Fried Green Tomato Recipe

Slice the tomatoes and lay in salt water a half hour, drain and roll in corn-meal and fry in hot lard; salt and pepper to taste.  The lard tells the recipe is old doesn't it although my grandmothers and mother used lard a lot in the 50’s?  It probably would make a better fried tomato.  I think this is how they made them in the movie because of the era the movie represented.

My Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe

Kosher salt and pepper
½ tsp. of paprika
1 tsp. of sugar
Panko bread crumbs

Clean your tomatoes and cut as thin as you can (1/4 to 1/8 of an inch is ideal).  Get out your best cutting knife and sharpen it so you can slice the tomatoes super thin.

Mix the flour with salt and pepper.  Add paprika and a teaspoon of sugar to your first dusting mixture.  I like to use paper plates or parchment paper for easy clean up.  I know it is not as economical, but I sometimes have to go with easy first.  I do not own a dish washer so paper plates or parchment paper makes it easier for me.  I mix the flour mixture right on the paper plate with my fingers. If I need more I just add a little at a time so there is no waste.

Salt your tomato and let it sit on a paper towel and get some of the moister out of it.  Dip your tomato in the flour mixture, then in buttermilk, then into Panko bread crumbs for a thick crust.  The Panko gives the fried tomatoes a great crunch.  If you do not want the expense of Panko crumbs, substitute it with corn meal and flour (50/50).  If you don’t have buttermilk, a good substitute is to dip them in a beaten egg instead.  I do prefer the buttermilk though; however, they both help you get a thick crust.  I set up stations and move from the flour mixture, to milk, to the Panko crumbs to the cast iron skillet using one hand because you do get messy.

Fry in hot olive oil or lard if you want to go old school, in a hot cast iron skillet on medium heat (a secret is the old cast iron skillet).  Be careful the olive oil is not too hot or it will burn, but make sure the oil and skillet are sufficiently heated before frying, so you get a really crispy tomato.  Do not over crowd the pan or play with the tomatoes.  Fry them until they are golden brown on both sides using a pancake turner to flip them when they are brown and drain on paper towels.

Taste for seasoning and if needed add additional salt and pepper while still hot.  I always find it could use a little more.

Variations - You seekers of heat, you might want to put in a pinch of Cheyenne pepper in your flour mixture, or a dash of hot sauce in your egg mixture, or maybe garlic or onion powder to really goose it up.  As you know, I like it simple.

How about using bacon grease for the frying?  It would add a whole new flavor to the tomato.

Making these makes me think of a great movie Fried Green Tomatoes, staring one of my favorite actresses Kathy Bates.  Make a batch and rent the movie and celebrate your green tomatoes. Or you can go to Fried Green tomatoes in Galena.  Their address is 213 North Main Street, Galena, IL.  Their FB page is .  I love this place.  It holds a very nice memory for me. I love their fried green tomato appetizer which is a fried green tomato with a pizza sauce and fresh mozzarella on top.  Put them under the broiler to melt the cheese until they are bubbly and are golden brown.  Love them.

Be happy and may God bless you and yours.

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