Fried Green Tomatoes After First Frost
Easy appetizer or side dish
Fried Green Tomatoes
A friend, clearly not a gardener, asked for this recipe in the summer. "Are you nuts?" I said. " No self respecting gardener sacrifices a good tomato to make fried green tomatoes in the summer!" Fried green tomatoes are fall food. They are what you do with tomatoes that haven't ripened by the first killer frost of the season.
This friend was an Eastern Transplant, not familiar with Midwest or Southern culture and cuisine. I also had to introduce him to tomato sandwiches this year. "You mean without bacon?," he said with trepidation.
Now, after the first frost, is the time for fried green tomatoes, green tomato relish and such.
Prepare fried green tomatoes like you do fried Okra. Slice, dip in a milk and egg wash and then in cornmeal. There are a million variations, but this basic recipe will get you started on a seasonal treasure from your garden. Your final reward, so to speak.
What's all the excitement about fried green tomatoes? It's just another Southern Fried food, and frankly I'm surprised it hasn't shown up at the carnivals or fairs yet. It's way better than fried pickles or fried cheese.
Uncle Ed say, “Well you know how to fry catfish, don't cha? Well it's the same thing, dip the tomato slices in milk and eggs. Then pat fish fry mix (flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper) on both sides”.
Deep fry, pan fry, or, oven “fry”
The cafe in Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café is modeled after Irondale Cafe in Birmingham, AL. Novelist Fannie Flagg said her great-aunt operated Irondale Cafe for almost 40 years.
If it weren't for the book Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, I believe this recipe would have remained a Southern delicacy. Just like fried pie.
Use any green tomato
Recipe Fried Green Tomatoes
There are two reasons a home cook prepares Fried Green Tomatoes.
At the height of summer tomato production, some tomatoes are removed from the plant to keep the weight of the tomatoes from breaking the vine. (Not that I am bragging, but I had to do this twice this summer.)
At the end of the tomato season, just before the first frosts hit the garden, all tomatoes are picked. Any tomatoes with a hint of color will be left to ripen slowly on the counter. Then, “waste not want not” happens. The most popular way of using up green tomatoes are fried green tomatoes, and green tomato relish.
If you must have a recipe :
3 or 4 large green tomatoes – slice, unpeeled to about 1/3” thick
½ cup milk – whisk egg and milk, or egg and buttermilk set aside.
1 cup of flour - on a plate
1 teaspoons of salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper – mix salt and pepper into flour mixture
½ cup each cornmeal and cracker crumbs on a plate. - Mix in any proportion you want to get a total of 1 cup dry mixture. (I like more cornmeal, less crumbs.)
¼ teaspoon thyme, or oregano, or dash of cayenne pepper powder – mix one or all into flour .
2 cups of vegetable oil - pour in heavy skillet over medium heat.
Dip tomatoes into the flour, then in the milk/egg mixture, and then in the cornmeal/cracker crumbs mixture. Press coating mixture onto tomato. Fry in hot oil, making sure tomatoes do not touch each other. Brown, turn once and brown the other side. Drain on paper towels.
If you want a dipping sauce, try a bit of spaghetti sauce or Ranch dressing.