I have family that lives in the South and have visited Georgia many times. I’ve been to Atlanta as well as a few outlying areas. I’ve been to Tennessee and North and South Carolina, Louisiana and Florida. I’ve been to Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. But never once while I’ve been in the South, have I ever had Fried Green Tomatoes.
All I can say is, someone’s been holding out. Seriously, I’ve heard of Fried Green Tomatoes, I’ve even seen the movie, which I love, but nothing prepared me for this deliciousness. Just how good they are must be some kind of deep held secret.
I’m probably whining, but I’m going on record here to say “I feel cheated.” What can I say? They don’t sound that great. At best, Fried Green Tomatoes sound like they might be some kind of quaint and charming Southern thing. You know, like maybe you have to be born there and grow up eating them to like them…yanno, no matter where you grow up, you have those kind of recipes. The one no one else “gets.”
And so I was floored by the first hot, hot bite! (Let them cool just a bit before you eat them, by the way.) I was all but undone by the slightly firm yet yielding tomato, which was all juicy, tangy (no one said a thing about tangy!) deliciousness, but then to be enveloped by that crispy, crunchy, slightly spicy (in this case) exterior…my knees practically went weak. (This kind of thing might be why I’m fat, lol!)
Add in a dipping sauce, in this case a creamy but just a little bit sharp Remoulade, redolent of spicy mustard and horseradish, and this is the kind of thing you’ll make, eat, and then make again because you just want more, more, more. See, I’m practically going manic with the memory and those run on sentences are proof. They’re just crazy good.
I looked at a kajillion recipes before I made these; so many I just kind of absorbed them all and spit out this one. So I guess I’ll collectively thank all you generous Southern cooks who’ve shared, and at the same time, ask ya’all – why did you never say just how darned good they are?
Our tomatoes came off the vine, missed during the frenzy of gathering before the first hard frost. When I read the best Fried Green Tomatoes were made from tomatoes kissed by frost, I went looking for strays. Unless you’re growing your own or can talk someone at the farmer’s market to pick some early for you, I don’t know where you’ll find green tomatoes, but find some. If not this year, then next! 🙂
Fried Green Tomatoes
- 4 medium-sized green tomatoes, cut into 3/8″ thick slices
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- Pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne
- Vegetable oil or frying medium of choice, enough in pan so the oil doesn’t quite cover the top side of the tomato
Slice tomatoes as evenly as possible, lay out on a rack and sprinkle with about half the salt. Turn and sprinkle with the remainder. Let sit for about 15 minutes (with paper towels under the rack, if you prefer, to catch the moisture.)
In the meantime, set up your breading station. Use three shallow containers, one for the flour, one for the buttermilk and one for the cornmeal. Add the cayenne to the cornmeal and whisk.
After the tomatoes have sat, with a clean towel or paper towel, firmly blot off the excess moisture from both sides. Very lightly sprinkle both sides with sugar and as much pepper as you’d like.
Dredge first in the flour, shaking off any excess, then in the buttermilk, again, shaking off any excess and then in the cornmeal, and again shake off any excess.
Lay back on the rack for about 10 minutes for the breading to set – this step helps the breading to adhere to the tomato.
Pour oil to a depth to come up nearly to the top of the tomato slices in to a cast-iron skillet or other heavy pan (or electric frying pan) and heat to 375°.
Gently place the tomatoes into the hot oil, and working in batches, cook for about two minutes per side or until golden. Drain on paper towels or a rack. Sprinkle with a little salt while still warm.
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons sour cream or Greek Yogurt
- 1 tablespoon Creole or other spicy mustard
- 2 teaspoons horseradish
- squirt of lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 – 8 slashes hot sauce
Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to serve.