Tried and True: Fried Green Tomatoes

It's been a little while since I've done a Tried and True post.  Fried Green Tomatoes.  Good book, good movie and in the South, it's a summer time food favorite.  I suspect, given the way my family preserved their summer produce, this began as a Fall menu item, to use up the last of the tomato crop when it was time for frost.  Big Mama also made a green tomato relish but I haven't got her recipe for that.  I usually do it the easy way and just buy a jar when I see it in a Farmer's Market shop since I'm the only one who enjoys it.

Fried Green Tomatoes.  Every household does them just a little differently.  I should know.  I am fourth generation cooking these and I don't do as Big Mama, Granny nor Mama did.  I do them my way.  I like my way better than any other but I don't turn my nose up at these tomatoes if someone else cooks them.  I just eat 'em anyway!

Years ago, a friend from the MidWest came to visit. I was cooking fried green tomatoes.  I had a tiny kitchen and the only available counter space was just behind me to my left, out of visual range. I would pick up tomato slices from my frying pan and drop them on the plate on that counter back of me.   Randy came into the kitchen and asked "What's that?"  I told him it was Fried Green Tomatoes.  "Ewww!" was his reply.  His wife reminded him he'd promised to try anything once  if I'd cooked it...So Randy agreed that they deserved a try.  He stood behind me the whole time I was cooking, chatting away...Or so I thought.  The man ate every single slice of the four tomatoes I fried that night!  All of them!  I never heard him say, "Ewww" again when anyone mentioned fried green tomatoes.

How you slice them depends on how they turn out.  Thin as paper and they are just this side of a potato chip crisp and yet a tiny bit  moist.  Thicker and they are tender, warm, not quite wet, bits with a crunchy coating.  I like them about 1/8 inch thick which is neither too thick nor too thin in my opinion.

Fried Green Tomatoes
Heat oil in a good sized skillet.  I prefer to just coat the pan and add more as needed.  Some folks like to sort of deep fry them like they would chicken.  It's your choice on that.  You do want it hot enough to fry but not hot enough to burn, I'd say around 350F.

Slice 1 green tomato (sufficient for two or three folks) to the thickness desired.

Mix 1/4 cup cornmeal, 1/4 cup flour, a dash of pepper, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp dried oregano on a plate or in a shallow pie pan.

Pour 3/4 cup buttermilk  into a bowl.  Add sliced tomatoes (or as many as will fit) to bowl. You can let this sit for a few minutes while you busy yourself with other things if you like.

Dredge the wet tomato slices into the meal mixture.  Place slices in the hot oil, not crowding pan, working in batches.  Usually about the time the pan is full of slices, the first ones are ready to flip.  You may need to add oil before putting in second batch if you are just coating the pan well, so do let the oil heat up before starting the next batch cooking.  I drain the cooked tomato slices on a paper towel lined pan and keep warm in the oven until all are cooked and ready to serve.

I have seen, of late, two sandwiches using fried green tomatoes: one a BLFGT (fried green tomato) and one a FGT Poor boy.  They both looked delicious to me.  For myself however, I love to eat them as a side dish on a plate of country vegetables: fresh corn, fresh beans and potatoes, fresh squash.  Oh my!  Just give me a piece of cornbread and that is one good dinner.


Anonymous said...

Do you pick them dead green or when they have a teeny hint of pink in a few spots? I know that on the blossom end of tomatoes when they show a white star like design that means they will get red if you pick them and wait. Some say they like the teeny bit of pink and some like them dead green green and hard as rocks. Thanks for the hint on the different ways of cutting them for frying. I had never seen that mentioned. Oh am I hungry now! I usually pick them when they are just at that light green stage that is turning into pink soon. Excuse me while I go and search the garden!! :-) Sarah

Anne in the kitchen said...

Since I am a Southern gal too, I understand the love affair with FGT. A local restaurant features FGTBLT with both the fried green and the red ripe together. It is just about heaven on bread. I am with you with the side dish for a veggie plate. We are a squash and onions, lady peas, sliced tomatoes, fried green tomatoes, and okra family. And of course the cornbread is mandatory but it's not sweet!

Maranda DiSanto said...

Thanks for posting this recipe! I remember one of my roommates wanted fried green tomatoes for her birthday when we lived in NYC together. I looked everywhere for green tomatoes, but you couldn't find them anywhere in that asphalt jungle! I even had my new boyfriend scouring the city for me. He ended up ordering green tomatoes from FL so she could get her birthday wish! She was super happy, and he ended up becoming my husband less than a year later. It's the little things. :)

Deanna said...

I adore fried green tomatoes! We have a little diner here in town that makes really good ones and serves them with ranch dressing. I've also had them served with remoulade sauce in New Orleans. Yummy!

Dawn said...

Can you believe I have never made fried green tomatoes? The only time I ate them, they were cut very thick, and I was not a fan. I think I will try using your suggestion of cutting them thinner. I have all of the ingredients and certainly have some green tomatoes on the vine.

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