I picked these green tomatoes up at the farmer’s market this weekend with every intention of turning them into a nice light tomato mint sorbet. Instead, I woke up Sunday morning with a hankerin’ fer some fried green ta’maters.
I guess I should have known this was going to happen when I bought them, and bought some extras. Hopefully they’ll still have some more this week so I can make my sorbet. Roasted green tomatoes also make fantastic salsa, and I love green tomato chutney’s and jams.
Given the big fuss over raw tomatoes, I guess it’s only appropriate that I deep fried the little bastards. Though in all fairness to these Lycopene rich fruits, I’m guessing the salmonella outbreaks are a result of bad farming and people/restaurants not properly washing the tomatoes.
Because they’re not fully ripe, green tomatoes are tart, dense and perfect for frying as they have less moisture and hold their shape. This recipe will yield fragrant disks with thick savory crusts and a tart, tender interior. They’re fantastic with a soft poached egg on top, and if you want to go for the full heart attack, make a cream and sausage gravy to pour on top (I call this Southern Eggs Benedict).
2 firm green tomatoes cut into 1/4″ slices
1/4 C cornstarch
1/4 C buttermilk
1/4 C cornmeal
1/4 C flour
1/4 C hard cheese grated on a microplane (I used an aged farmhouse cheddar)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp Season All (or other seasoning salt)
olive oil for frying
fleur de sel for sprinkling
Setup 3 shallow flat bottomed bowls or plates by adding the cornstarch to one, the egg and buttermilk to the next and the cornmeal, flour, cheese, paprika and Season All to the last. Beat the egg mixture and whisk together the cornmeal mixture.
Set a wire rack over a baking sheet to catch the fried goods. In a heavy bottomed frying pan add about 1/4″ of oil and heat.
While the oil is heating up, salt and pepper each slice of tomato then dust lightly in cornstarch.
When the oil reaches 340 degrees F, dip a slice of tomato in the egg mixture making sure every nook and cranny is moistened then transfer to the cornmeal mixture covering and pressing into the mix to make sure you get a nice thick crust. Gently place it in the hot oil then repeat with a few more until the pan is full.
When you see the edges of the first tomato start to turn golden brown, gently flip it over using tongs (be careful not to break the crust on the tomato). Fry until the second side of the tomato is a nice golden brown then transfer to the wire rack to drain.
Sprinkle with some fleur de sel and serve.