Pan-Fried Tomatoes with a Cornmeal Crust

Updated February 23, 2016



Published by Chronicle

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

In the American South cornmeal is often used to coat oysters, catfish, and chicken before frying them, but this dish, with its crunchy exterior and red-ripe, smooth tomato inside, becomes very Mediterranean. It would be a waste to use extra virgin olive oil for frying the tomatoes, but regular olive oil will impart more flavor than plain vegetable oil.


Cooking Methodpan-frying



Total Timeunder 30 minutes

Kid FriendlyYes

Recipe Courseside dish, tapas/small plates

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, low cholesterol, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Mealbrunch, dinner

Taste and Texturecrisp, crunchy, juicy, savory

Type of Dishvegetable


  • 9 large ripe but firm plum tomatoes (about 1¾ pounds)
  • ½ cup polenta or coarsely ground yellow cornmeal
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/3 cup olive oil or vegetable oil


SLICE THE TOMATOES crosswise about ½ inch thick. Discard or eat the very top and bottom slices. Mix the polenta, ½ teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and parsley in a shallow soup bowl and dredge the tomato slices evenly in the mixture, pressing the coating to make it stick to the cut surfaces of the tomatoes.

IN A LARGE HEAVY NONSTICK SKILLET, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is very hot but not smoking. Add as many tomato slices as you can without crowding the pan, and sauté for about 3 minutes. Turn the slices to the other side and sauté for another 3 minutes, or until golden. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate, sprinkle with salt, and keep warm in a low oven while you finish frying the other tomatoes. Serve warm.



Include a Photo Include a Photo

Click the button above or drag and drop images onto the button. You can upload two images.

Cancel Reply to Comment

Thanks for your comment. Don't forget to share!


Report Inappropriate Comment

Are you sure you would like to report this comment? It will be flagged for our moderators to take action.

Thank you for taking the time to improve the content on our site.

Sign In to Your Account

Close Window
Sign In with one of your Social Accounts
Sign In using Email and Password