fried green tomatoes: the recipe!

I'm about to share with you my "recipe" for Fried Green Tomatoes. I use the word recipe quite loosely here because I don't think I have ever made these the same way. If you're looking for exact measures, this very well may drive you nuts. But here's the thing about making Fried Green Tomatoes. You're basically just deep frying something. Which means it's going to be good...because it has been fried in fat. So, you have that going you. You can't really mess them up.

That said, at Elsie's birthday party I had Oma Zina help me make the Fried Green Tomatoes. Oma Zina doesn't waste anything, so after she dredged the tomatoes in flour, egg, flour, egg and panko crumbs, she heavily coated one side in the egg again before laying it in the oil. And it changed everything. One side was crispy, the other side was almost battered. And man they were good. So this "recipe" is sort of a mix of Oma Zina's special touch, my years of trial and success all based on this recipe from the Neely's. (Which I have greatly simplified...)
I start out by picking my tomatoes, wanting them to be really firm, with little juice and seeds inside. I cut them about 1/2 an inch thick and using a fork, dip them in three bowls: 1)flour with seasoning salt 2)eggs with water 3)panko bread crumbs with more seasoning salt. I have a pan (usually I use my electric fry pan) with vegetable oil in it (maybe 1/3 of an inch?) heating up. I test my oil by putting a bit of panko in...if it begins to fry, it's ready. 

That said, after Oma Zina's brilliant additional dip in the egg, I started doing my dredge a little different. Now I just use 1)gluten-free flour with seasoning salt and 2)egg and water. I dip mine back and forth a few times and in the end, the tomatoes have more of a breading than an extra crispy crunch. Sort of like the difference between Colonel Sanders Original recipe and Extra Crispy at KFC. You can see the difference in these pictures: the first picture posted used panko and the pictures below were the flour and egg (batter-like) dredge.
I fry them nicely on both sides, flipping occasionally, and then salt them when they come out and let them rest on a paper towel.

Now the actual key to awesome Fried Green Tomatoes is the sauce. Again, I have always used the Neely's sauce, but it's a little involved with lots of steps. And so just this week I tried simplifying my own version, and Rory said I nailed it. Unfortunately, I don't write down measurements when I go rogue in the kitchen, so here are my best guesses:

Dipping Sauce:
1/2 c. mayonaise
1/2 c. milk
2 T. bbq sauce
3 T. apple cider vinegar (I love Bragg's brand)
2 scallions chopped up (you'll taste these more and more the longer the sauce sits in your fridge)
And I think I used a squirt of lime juice...but I'm not totally sure.

Basically it makes a creamy, zippy (the vinegar!) sauce to go with your savory tomatoes. If you want it a bit sweeter, you could add more bbq sauce or even maple syrup, I suppose. 

Like I said, you can't really botch this one. And you may or may not even like them in the end! I made my first batch this year right after I had put the kids to bed and we had just eaten an hour before that. I wasn't actually hungry, and they didn't taste as awesome as I remembered. The next time I made them for lunch, I was famished and they were everything I dreamed of! :) So eat on an empty stomach and enjoy. Happy Fried Green Tomato Season!

1 comment:

The Rings said...

I tried them, very much enjoyed them! I will definitely make them again! The sauce, is AWESOME. I kept the leftovers and have been dipping since :-)