Fried Green Tomatoes | Summer Traditions

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I grew up eating Fried Green Tomatoes, as did most children of the South.  If my Mema taught me anything in the kitchen it was how to fry food: chicken, potatoes, cornbread, and of course green tomatoes.  Pan frying and deep frying are standard ways to prepare just about anything here in Texas, so it gets mastered pretty early on…

I distinctly remember every Summer when the gardens were full of tomato plants covered in large green tomatoes it meant it was time to put on a pot of red beans and have what Mema always called a ‘Farmer’s Supper.’  It meant we wouldn’t be eating meat, but fresh onion, cantaloupe, red beans, cornbread (baked or fried), and in late Spring – early Summer it meant Fried Green Tomatoes.  And in the later Summer months we would have large slices of fresh from the garden ripe tomatoes and maybe some Black Diamond watermelon, if we were really lucky.

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While I still enjoy the tradition of making Fried Green Tomatoes, I married a meat eater.  When we practice Meatless Monday he acts like he is dying.  He will deny this, but there are only a few things I have made where he didn’t notice the meat was missing: Eggplant Parmesan, Black Bean Soup which I serve with fried cheese tacos, and Grilled Cheese Bread Pudding with Homemade Tomato Soup to name a few.  So a few years back we started our own tradition: Fried Green Tomato BLT’s and they are pretty darn fabulous, if I don’t say so myself. So either way enjoy this Southern Tradition! It is truly a unique treat.

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FRIED GREEN TOMATOES

  • 3-4 large green tomatoes
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup flour for dusting,
    plus 1/4 cup for batter mixture
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2/3  cup cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon each: Seasoned Salt & Pepper
    you can substitute with plain, if you like
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Oil for frying – Crisco or Wesson Vegetable Oil

DIRECTIONS: 

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Wash and slice tomatoes, thick; arrange in a large dish (double layer if needed) and pour buttermilk over tomatoes.  Allow tomatoes to marinade in buttermilk for about 30 minutes, turning once or twice during this time to make sure they are all well-coated.  Transfer a paper-towel lined tray when ready to coat for frying.

Prepare your dredging station, you will need three rimmed bowls and cookie sheet covered in wax/parchment paper (for easy cleanup).  For the dredge: 1) place 1/2 cup of flour in first bowl; 2) place 2 eggs and 2-3 Tablespoons of buttermilk from tomatoes; well beaten; and 3) Mix together: cornmeal, remaining 1/4 cup flour; panko, seasoned salt, and seasoned pepper. This made just enough cornmeal-batter mixture for me, so feel free to mix up extra if you think you need it, but I hate tossing heaps of good ingredients so I try to mix up just enough… 

In a large skillet, with high walls pour enough oil for frying – I like to use about the thickness of my tomatoes so the sides will fry up nice and golden too.  Set over high to medium-high heat while you prepare your tomatoes.  We want the oil to be at least 350-365 degrees.  I honestly don’t check my temperature anymore – I just drop in a little water or panko and see how the oil re-acts… if is sizzles and bubbles up then you are probably good to go.

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Meanwhile, take eat buttermilk soaked slice and dredge in flour; then coat in egg mixture; press gently into cornmeal mixture until completely coated; and arrange on covered-sheet for frying. They may not all be gorgeous – it’s okay it’s fried food and the flavor is the art, not the appearance! Once all your tomatoes are ready test the oil and start frying!  It only takes a couple minutes per side, but really the true test of when to turn is the color – we want them deliciously golden.  If you flip too soon, then you can turn them back over and cook longer. Just be gently with the coating during turning.  While they are cooking I add paper towels to my cookie sheet or tray so I can drain the cooked tomatoes right out of the hot pan. Sprinkle with salt right after frying – trust me 🙂

Serve these babies hot! This is not my Mema’s recipe.  I don’t know that she ever had a specific recipe, which is the truth for so many things she made… but, I know for certain she didn’t use buttermilk.  Buttermilk is a tangy trick I picked up several years ago and I love the zip it adds! So don’t feel like you have to brine them in buttermilk. Also, Mema doesn’t use panko, because when she was growing up you couldn’t run to the market and get such things… 

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Tomorrow I’ll share more about our BLT’s! We made our bacon in the oven while we fried our tomatoes and we whipped up some homemade mayo in about two-minutes! We made Roasted Garlic Mayo for our Fried Green Tomato BLT’s this year and it was Ah-mazing!

3 Comments on “Fried Green Tomatoes | Summer Traditions

  1. What does the brine do for the tomatoes? Have you tried it without brining and noticed a difference?

    • Yes, I grew up making them without buttermilk – the texture is different and of course the flavor, but it’s not a drastic difference in flavor, just a subtle twang. Mostly, at least in my experience, it helps soften the thick slices of under-ripe tomatoes, maintain the moisture while frying, and yields better coverage while battering. They are great both ways though! Mema never used buttermilk and always cut her tomatoes a little thinner so they would fry up softer.

  2. Pingback: Fried Green Tomato BLT’s | apronclad

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