Summer weather is winding down up here on my mountain, and it’s not too long before frost comes to my garden beds. It always breaks my heart to see those tomatoes that won’t have the time to ripen, but there’s no way I’m letting them go to waste! That’s where Fried Green Tomatoes come in.
These tasty little rounds of happiness are a classic dish from the American South. I grew up in New York, and lived in Massachusetts and New Jersey before settling in to the Poconos. Let’s just say Fried Green Tomatoes weren’t a thing growing up. The first time I heard the term was in a movie title. Pretty good movie, too. I learned how to make these a few years ago when I joined my town’s community garden and had green tomatoes I needed to use. They’re so delicious, with the slightly more tart flavor of the unripe tomato and the crispy crunch from the bread crumbs and cornmeal coating.
- Green tomatoes – Green tomatoes are the unripened form of the red tomatoes we eat all the time. While they look similar, these are not tomatillos. The taste and texture are very different.
- Buttermilk – for soaking the tomato slices. Buttermilk provides a nice bit of tangy flavor and helps the breading mixture stick to the tomato slices.
- Hot sauce – The world is your oyster here. Use whichever hot sauce you like. Use as much or as little of it as suits your taste. Leave it out if you don’t like the flavor. I used Sriracha, because it’s what I have on hand.
- Corn meal – Use a fine or medium ground cornmeal for this, and either white or yellow is fine. The cornmeal gives more texture and flavor to the exterior coating.
- Bread crumbs – Use what you have in your pantry. Standard commercial bread crumbs work great. If you’ve got stale bread and want to make your own bread crumbs, that’s awesome! Just remember to season it, or you’ll be missing salt in a pretty big way. I don’t like panko for this, because the pieces are too big and tend to fall off of the tomato slices in the pan and burn.
Fried Green Tomatoes are best served hot and fresh the day you make them. Like most fried foods, the texture of the exterior is best when it’s right out of the oil. They will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator, and reheating would best be done uncovered in the oven until hot again. These will not freeze well.
Fried Green Tomatoes are traditionally served with Remoulade Sauce. There are two versions of Remoulade Sauce: the French and the New Orleans style that comes from the Creole culinary tradition. New York Times Cooking has a wonderful recipe for the true classic French Remoulade Sauce that you can find here, and Serious Eats has my favorite New Orleans Remoulade recipe, here.
My favorite sauce for Fried Green Tomatoes is Mississippi Comeback Sauce. I first encountered the recipe for this sauce about 5 years ago, but it’s a lot older than that. Again, New York girl. The sauce is delicious, zippy without being overpoweringly spicy, and really versatile. It’s as good on your turkey sandwich as it is on your tomatoes, and makes a great dipping sauce for chicken, onion rings, and a thousand other things. The Southern Living Magazine recipe can be found here.
Classic Southern Fried Green TomatoesCourse: Appetizers, Side Dishes, Summer, Vegetables, VegetarianCuisine: American, Southern
Crispy, crunchy and delicious, Fried Green Tomatoes are a great end-of-summer side dish.
3 large green tomatoes
Salt to taste
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon hot sauce or to taste, optional
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup vegetable oil, for frying
- Slice tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices.
- Lay out tomato slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt, let sit 5 minutes.
- Whisk together egg, buttermilk and hot sauce. Soak tomato slices in buttermilk mixture for 30 minutes.
- Combine corn meal and bread crumbs.
- Dredge tomato slices in corn meal and bread crumb mixture.
- Pan fry tomato slices, in batches, in oil until golden brown on each side, 3-4 minutes per side. Drain on a rack or paper towels.
- Serve with Louisiana Remoulade or Mississippi Comeback Sauce.
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