Generally, I like my tomatoes chopped, smashed, pummeled or sauced. Chunky hunks of tomatoes aren’t my thing. Fried green tomatoes are an exception. Keyword: Fried. It’s not particularly healthy, but it’s yummy. Wrapping those babies in a deep fried, crisp cornbread crust just makes them, like, TA DA!
Mom always says (and she’s right) that the best tomatoes for this recipe are those that are just about to turn. I didn’t have any “barely ripe” tomatoes so I used truly green tomatoes. Guess what? They were pretty freakin’ fantabulous anyway.
Preparing Fried Green Tomatoes
Slice tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick. Some cooks slice them bigger. Not for me, thick slices are too soggy. I like mine thin and crisp. Lay the slices out on paper towels for about 30 minutes to remove some of the liquid. Again, less soggy. Some people sprinkle salt on the slices to soak up the liquid. That works, too, but isn’t my preference as sometimes, the taste is too salty.
Fill a bowl with buttermilk. Straight buttermilk, folks. The drink of the gods.
Set up a pan for the cornmeal mix which is made up of cornmeal, flour, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and 1 TB salt.
Grab the Skillet
A cast iron skillet is recommended. Fill it with enough olive oil to cover the tomato slices. Most recipes call for vegetable oil but but this IS a healthy food blog so…. If you want to completely fall of the wagon, use bacon grease. Lordy, Lord, frying things in bacon grease offers the utopia of flavor. Uncured bacon takes away a little guilt, but it’s still pig.
Preheat the skillet for about 6 minutes to make sure it is really hot. Start testing the temperature at about 6 minutes. It needs to be about 360 degrees. You should know that I have never actually tested the temperature with, like, a thermometer. If you feel you need to use a thermometer to be sure, go ahead. You’ll receive no judgement from me. My rule is that you know it’s ready when you plop a bit of wet cornmeal into the skillet and it starts to bubble. That’s hot enough for me.
Slip the tomato into the buttermilk wash. Tap off the excess.
Lay the tomato in the cornmeal mix. Make sure the mix covers both sides of the tomato.
Here’s the important part:
DOUBLE DIP. Take that cornmeal covered tomato and slide it into the buttermilk, AGAIN, then dredge it AGAIN, a second time, in the cornmeal mix.
If your cast iron skillet is ready, slip that little bugger into the pan. Fill up the skillet with tomatoes, but make sure each tomato has enough space around it to float freely. Don’t let your tomatoes touch or one tomato will lose it’s crust to the next guy.
After about 1 minute, flip with a slotted spatula or spoon.
Flip every 60 seconds or so until both sides are a golden brown. Then lay out on a drying rack, paper towel, or drying cloth for about 5 minutes.
Truly, they are best when still warm. You can keep them warm in the oven. But don’t wait too long. The 30 second rule applies here. Once they are cool enough, serve quickly for the optimum delish experience.
There are all kinds of fantastic toppings but I love a peach/walnut/green onion combo. Here’s the recipe for Peach + Walnut Relish.
- 6 medium green tomatoes, sliced ¼ inch - ½ inch thick
- 1 TB salt
- 2 cups whole buttermilk (low fat works, too)
- 3 cups stone-ground cornmeal
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Olive oil
- Dressing/topping of your choice.
- Place tomato slices on a wire rack. Pack dry with paper towels. Let stand for 30 minutes. You can also sprinkle with salt to absorb excess moisture.
- In a deep cast iron skillet, pour olive oil to halfway full, or enough to cover the tomatoes. Heat over medium heat until deep fry thermometer reaches 360 degrees.
- Pour buttermilk in a bowl.
- In a pan, mix cornmeal, flour, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and 1 tablespoon salt.
- Dip each tomato slice into buttermilk. Let excess drip off. Dredge in cornmeal mix, ensuring both sides are covered with mix. Dip in buttermilk a second time. Dredge in cornmeal mix a second time.
- Slowly place tomatoes in skillet. Fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown, usually about 3 minute on each side.
- Remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon. Drain on wire rack.
- Top with bacon, preferred dressing or preferred garnish.
- 2 cups chopped fresh peaches
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- 3 Tb chopped green onions
- 1 tsp light brown sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Stir ingredients together. That's it!