We haven’t read the novel, Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistlestop Cafe.
But in the film, while green tomatoes are fried up, we (a northerner and fan of heirloom tomatoes) missed a technical point.
We didn’t realize that the green tomatoes were fried because they were not yet ripe. Plucked off the vine green (photo #2) and dredged in cornmeal, they were a treat.
We initially thought that they were Green Zebra heirloom tomatoes (photo #1).
So, tomato growers: Take some of your green guys and fry them up! (And those who want to know more about Green Zebra tomatoes: Here it is.)
Fried green tomatoes are typically served as a side dish; in the South, with fried chicken. We enjoy them with grilled chicken and fish. We’ve been adding them to grilled cheese sandwiches, too, and highly recommend it.
When fresh red tomatoes aren’t great—which is the case for much of the year—fry them up and add to green salads.
McCormick serves fried green tomatoes with buttermilk chipotle dressing, or topped with lump crabmeat and Creole mustard—a nice first course.
Ready to fry some green tomatoes?
RECIPE #1: FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
This is the classic southern recipe (photo #3): buttermilk, cornmeal and green tomatoes (photo #2).
Use a heavy skillet. Some recipes we’ve read recommend the even heat of an electric skillet.
Ingredients For 4-6 Servings
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 medium-size green tomatoes, cut into 1/3-inch slices
Salt to taste
Optional garnish: minced fresh parsley or basil
1. COMBINE the egg and buttermilk; set aside.
2. COMBINE 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, the cornmeal, salt, and pepper, in a shallow bowl or pan.
3. DREDGE the tomato slices in the remaining 1/4 cup flour. Dip in the egg mixture and dredge in cornmeal mixture.
4. ADD the oil to a large cast-iron skillet, to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Heat it to 375°F.
5. DROP the tomatoes, in batches, into the hot oil. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels or on a rack.
6. SPRINKLE the hot tomatoes with salt, if desired. (We served flaky salt on the table.)
*Some recipes add bacon grease. If you have it, substitute three tablespoons bacon grease for an equal amount of oil.
RECIPE #2: SAVORY FRENCH TOAST WITH TOMATO SALAD
Don’t want to fry your tomatoes? Then treat yourself to the gourmet’s green tomatoes: Green Zebras (photos #1 and #6), in a tomato salad.
And, use the salad as a garnish for French Toast. Save the maple syrup for post-tomato-season.
Look for Green Zebras in farmers markets. The season is fleeting, so enjoy as many of these (and other heirloom tomatoes) as you can.