I’m not sure what it is about fried green tomatoes that makes me want to learn how to cook them perfectly. Sure, I loved the movie, and that is where I first learned of their existence, but it goes beyond that.
If you do a recipe search for fried green tomatoes, you’ll find a lot of variation. Some require a dip in milk, egg, and bread crumbs, some add herbs and spices. The old school crowd might use lard or bacon grease, while the purists say the only way to make them is with a simple dusting of flour.
I think the reason I want to conquer this southern favorite is because of the passion and nostalgia that cling to each recipe. People love these summer treats for so many reasons–because they remind them of the place they call home, of a beloved Grandma’s recipe, or of lazy lunches in the summertime, when the tomatoes were not yet sweet and red, and still had a tang that could make you pucker.
I also can’t resist a challenge, and what’s more challenging than a food that has legions of die-hard fans, all claiming to know the ‘right’ way to make them, with such a simple list of ingredients? Sure, you could fancy them up with countless bells and whistles, but in this case, I think true talent is told through simplicity and technique.
So, here are my tomatoes. One from our garden, and two from the farmer’s market. Please bear with my photos–I took the camera from the box only about minutes before I snapped these, so I’m a little green (punny, I know…)
The pinkish tomato on top was too close to ripe and would have mushed upon frying, so I just ate that one.
The bigger green tomato from our garden had zero flavor, so we ate a couple of bites, then chalked that one up to kitchen experimentation.
But this little beauty from the farmer’s market? Crisp, tangy perfection!
I decided to take the minimalist approach, and dredged the slices in a mixture of flour, salt, and pepper, then fried them in a thin puddle of red pepper-infused olive oil until golden. Super simple.
Here’s the finished product.
They were deliciously tangy, and sturdy enough to handle the frying without turning to mush. I served them with some simple panko-crusted tilapia and some sweet potato fries, which I did not take pictures of because, well, because I was hungry. Remoulade sauce was on hand, as well.
I can’t wait to make them again, and again. I can only imagine how much better they’ll get with time and practice!
The only thing missing? A tall glass of sweet tea!
I find that when it comes to fried green tomatoes, most people either love them or hate them. If you’re a “love ’em” kind of person, I’d love to hear your tips on how to perfect them!