Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes

Make it elegant and serve with creme fraiche and pea shoots.

One of the great things about shopping for produce at the greenmarket versus the supermarket this time of year is the variety and abundance. Right about now, the purple, yellow, and red carrots are being pulled up for market and the varieties of summer squash are vast, ranging in color from pale, pale yellow to deep, dark green. Things you may have never even seen before are available and waiting to be tried. Soon there will be big bunches of dill flowers and hundreds of peppers in every shape, size, and color.
Commune cuisine at its finest!
This past weekend I was reminded of one of my Southern-inspired summer favorites--fried green tomatoes. The hard green tomatoes piled in a crate looking meek and lonely next to the fancy and exotic heirlooms wooed me with their simplicity and humble presentation. I filled a bag right away. Fried green tomatoes are a symbol of summer sun and relaxation to me. Served with some kale, and smoky vegetarian pinquitos beans and rice, these sour and savory morsels don't last long at my table.

Fried Green Tomatoes

10-12 firm, green underripe tomatoes (ripe, green heirlooms are watery and don't come out the same)
1 1/2 c yellow cornmeal
1 c whole wheat or oat flour (or corn flour for gluten-free)
One of those little buggers began to ripen overnight!
1 T Cajun seasoning (opt.but good!)
1 t garlic powder
1 t sweet paprika
1/2 t sea salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper

1 egg (opt.)
1 1/2-2  cups almond milk, soy milk, milk, or water

expeller-pressed canola/sunflower/safflower oil for frying (a cup or so)

I fried it anyway.
Wash and core tomatoes and slice into rounds about 1/3" thick. Set aside. In a shallow bowl or on a plate, combine cornmeal, flour, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper.

If using egg, whisk together egg with liquid in a medium bowl. Start with 1 1/2 and as you dredge and fry, add more liquid if you are running low. Without egg, just put the full 2 cups liquid in a bowl.

Heat a 1/2 inch of oil in a frying pan and set up a plate with paper towels for draining. When a pinch of flour sizzles, oil is ready. Dip tomato slices in liquid and dredge in the cornmeal mixture, creating a nice, thick layer. Place in the oil to fry. Continue until pan is full, but not overcrowded.

Fry for about 4 minutes, flip, then fry about 3 minutes more. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt while hot. Fry remaining slices in batches. Dredging the upcoming batch while a batch is frying will save time.

Tranfer drained tomatoes to a warm oven, uncovered to keep hot.

Serve with hot sauce, ketchup, creme fraiche and pea shoots (my favorite), or mustard. They are great as sandwiches the next day, too.


Dan said...

WHAT? Not even a brief reference to that great movie?

From IMDB: "A housewife who is unhappy with her life befriends an old lady in a nursing home and is enthralled by the tales she tells of people she used to know."

Catherine Barker Hoffman said...

I didn't need to. You did it for me, and did it nicely, I might add.