Fried Green Tomatoes
Hi internet. Today I'll be covering fried green tomatoes, as popularized by the novel Fried Green Tomatoes by Fannie Flagg.
These deep-fried Southern tomatoes are a little out of my culinary comfort zone, but I wanted to try them because I really enjoyed the novel, which is set during the Great Depression and focuses on a lesbian couple who own a cafe famous for its fried green tomatoes. I'm following Binging with Babish's recipe here.
-2 medium-sized green tomatoes
-1 cup cornmeal
-1/2 cup breadcrumbs
-3/4 cup white flour
-1/2 cup buttermilk
-a good amount of vegetable oil (I use about 8 cups)
-1/4 cup and 2 tbsp mayonnaise
-1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
-Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
-1/2 tsp whole grain mustard (I used Russian mustard)
-1 clove of garlic, finely minced
-1/2 scallion, finely chopped
-1/2 tbsp capers, chopped (optional)
-Worcestershire sauce (to taste)
-Hot sauce (to taste)
-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
-1/2 tsp smoked or regular paprika
Slice your green tomatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices. I find this is easier with a sharp knife, and I like to make small 1/4-inch notches with the knife onto the tomato before slicing, to ensure the slices are more even. Place the tomato slices on a paper towel-lined baking sheet and sprinkle sparingly with salt on both sides. Let them rest and sweat slightly for 30 minutes.
During that 30 minutes, prepare the remoulade: combine all remoulade ingredients together, whisk, and set aside.
Then prepare your breading station. Get out 3 bowls. Each of the bowls should have a base at least as large as your largest tomato slice.
In the first bowl, whisk together flour, onion powder, garlic powder, and white pepper.
In the second bowl, whisk together egg and buttermilk.
In the third bowl, whisk together cornmeal and breadcrumbs.
Once the 30 minutes is up, dab your tomatoes with a paper towel to remove the water that sweated on top. Start breading, using one hand as your "dry" hand and the other as your "wet" hand. With each slice:
Place in the first bowl with your dry hand and ensure both sides are coated completely with the flour mixture.
Drop the slice in the wet bowl and use the side of the slice with your wet hand to ensure both sides are coated with the wet mixture.
Drop the slice with your wet hand into the cornmeal-breadcrumbs bowl. Using your dry hand, drop pinches of the mixture onto the tomato. Once it's covered on one side, use your dry hand to grab the side of the slice and drop pinches of the mixture onto the other side. Then take the slice with your dry hand and place the breaded slice onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Once you're done, place the vegetable oil in a large deep-ish skillet over high heat. Get it to 325 degrees F (I use a food thermometer for this). Make sure not to fill your skillet with too much oil - the oil should not be more than halfway up the pan.
Once the oil reaches 325 degrees, drop a few slices into the pan. Don't crowd the pan. And you may need to separate the slices. For some reason my slices like to huddle together in the oil.
Once a slice has risen to the top and is golden-brown, place it on a paper-towel-lined surface so it can drain. (I use a slotted spoon to take it out). You can now place another slice in the pan. Keep on removing and adding slices until you have cooked all of them. The top few slices in the below photo are just about ready to be taken out.
Once you're done cooking, let your oil cool down, and then discard by pouring into a bag. (Or if you know how to safely reuse deep-frying oil, do that and let me know how.) Make sure your bag is sturdy enough. I used a flimsy bag that popped and I had to clean my kitchen for about an hour afterwards 😩
Like most deep-fried food, these are delicious, filling, and satisfying. The tomatoes are crispy on the outside, as expected, and surprisingly still juicy on the inside, retaining much of their original flavor and texture. Here you can see I cut into the slice, to show how the interior looks almost unchanged.
The remoulade is very spicy and tasty. My boyfriend described it as having a Cajun flavor profile. I'm unfamiliar with Cajun food, which means I should try cooking some of it.
These tomatoes would be fun at some sort of get together. The recipe I wrote out here serves about 2 hungry people if they eat nothing but these tomatoes and remoulade. Maybe not the healthiest meal, but it kind of hits the spot.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe. I will be back soon, probably to discuss brownies! 😋