The National Blog Posting Month theme for July is “food,” so this seemed like a good cause to kick back into gear for summer: Fried Green Tomatoes. This is a dish that has as many variations as it does people who cook it, and I’d love to hear yours.
This recipe almost doesn’t need words, but I’ll use a FEW. Get some of these (I got mine from the Certified Arkansas Farmer’s Market in North Little Rock):
I have actually had people tell me that they couldn’t find “this kind” of tomatoes, only the red ones. Well, these are the red ones. They’re just not ripe yet. The rest of you quit laughing. There are actually people who have never seen a tomato before it hits the grocery store, where it’s probably arrived from Mexico or California. Green tomatoes are apple-firm and wonderful to work with. A lot of people seem to prefer the ones that have just a hint of pink blush forming, but I like the pure greenies. I like fried pickles, too, though, so take that into account when you select your degree of green-ness.
Slice ’em up. I like to do them at an angle instead of straight across the middle, but that’s just me. I promise the tomato-slicing police will not show up at your house if you do it differently.
Have a shallow dish of buttermilk, salted and peppered to taste, at hand, and as you slice the tomatoes, add the slices to the buttermilk. They don’t have to soak or marinate, but a couple extra minutes couldn’t hurt, right?
In another shallow dish, combine equal parts cornmeal or cornmeal mix, and flour. Take the tomato slices from the buttermilk, and dredge them in the flour mixture. I usually just lay the wet slices onto the flour, cover them, and lightly press the flour mixture into the tomato a little.
Cook in hot oil until golden-brown, then turn them over and brown the other side. The tomato slices will soften as they cook, but don’t let them get all mushy. If your slices are no more than 1/4-inch thick, they should get done about the time your coating is golden-brown.
Drain slices separately on layers of paper towels, or in a wire basket or on a rack (though that won’t get as much oil out as draining on paper), and serve HOT. We like ours with cold ranch dressing, but I’d love to hear any other ways of enjoying fried green tomatoes.
An alternate, and equally acceptable method is to simply dredge very thin green tomato slices in seasoned cornmeal mix and then fry them. That should get you a result like these slices, from a popular Arkansas country restaurant (can you guess where?). Also yummy, if greasier and floppier.