I’ve been in the mood for fried green tomatoes all summer. Finally got around to making them last night for dinner.
Here’s my take on this southern classic.
Note: The quantities I’m cooking will provide two nice-sized servings. If you’re cooking for more, you’ll need to increase the quantity of tomatoes and, possibly, double the batter guidelines (depending on how many you plan to cook).
Step One: Gather several green tomatoes from the garden. Wash off any dirt and slice into 1/2″ slices. It’s ok to approximate the width, just be consistent so the cooking time is even.
My tomatoes are small. First we had drought and very high temps (upper 90s) and now we’re getting a lot of rain on top of the high temps. The humidity is out of control. All of the moisture is now causing the tomatoes to split. Anyway, ideally your tomatoes will be a bit larger but the size doesn’t really matter. Just make sure the tomatoes are green and firm. Partially-ripened tomatoes are softer and will be mushy by the time they finish cooking.
Step Two: In a small bowl, combine about 3/4 cup of cornmeal (the real stuff, not cornmeal mix) with about 2/3 cup of flour. Add about 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon of salt (unless you’re using self-rising cornmeal and/or flour), and about 1/2 teaspoon of ground red cayenne pepper.*
Pour about 2/3 cup of buttermilk into a separate container. Throw in about 1 teaspoon of freshly-ground black pepper and stir the pepper into the buttermilk.
*Follow these proportions and increase the quantities if you’re frying more tomatoes. I like the spice of cayenne and black pepper and I could barely discern any spice with this quantity. If you like spicy, add more. If spicy foods aren’t your thing, then hold back a bit. If you’re into heavily-salted foods (I’m not) you may want to add more salt. But remember, you can always salt your food at the table.
Step Three: Pour about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of canola oil into a skillet and heat to medium (for starters) while you’re battering the tomatoes.
Dip each tomato slice into the buttermilk and then dredge with the cornmeal/flour dry mixture until the tomato has a nice coating of batter. Immediately transfer the battered tomato slice into the hot oil. Repeat until you’ve filled the skillet.
Cook the tomato slices about 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. If the oil in the skillet is bubbling, turn down to low/medium (around 3 on my range). This cooking temp allows tomatoes to cook perfectly on each side, without burning.
You need to pay close attention while cooking fried green tomatoes. It doesn’t take long to burn the batter if you’re distracted. The entire cooking time (time in skillet) is about 6-7 minutes so it’s not like paying attention is a painful ordeal or time-consuming process.
Step Four: As each tomato slice begins to turn golden brown, flip to cook on the other side. When the slice is golden on both sides, remove from the skillet. Place the cooked tomato slices on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.
Step Five: Serve them up as an appetizer or side dish. Or make them the centerpiece of your meal, like I did last night. That’s boiled okra, if you’re wondering.
I squeezed a bit of lemon juice onto the fried green tomatoes, along with a dash of red cayenne pepper sauce. Based on my taste test, I prefer Louisiana Brand Hot Sauce over Tabasco® for my fried green tomatoes, even though I’m a huge fan of Tabasco.
Some people serve fried green tomatoes with rémoulade. I don’t do mayonnaise.
Enjoy your summer weekend. I’m off to the farmers market.
My take on fried green tomatoes is a modified version of Tyler Florence’s recipe for fried green tomatoes. His ingredient list called for butter. I’m not sure what you do with the butter, but I didn’t use any and I don’t see that you need butter to make fried green tomatoes. Mine were perfect, made just as I described above.