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Fried Green Tomatoes

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Green Tomatoes, which are simply unripe tomatoes, have a tart, brisk flavor and apple-like crunch that brightens up salsas and makes a marvelous jam. But they are especially delectable sliced and deep fried; their tangy flesh is a perfect foil for rich, toasty crust. We amp up the tartness by serving them with ramekins of Buttermilk-Lime Dressing  for dipping. If it’s a more ambitious affair, we’ll lay a few tomato slices on small beds of fresh spinach and arugula and drizzle each plate with the dressing.     If we can’t find green tomatoes (see note), we use supermarket red tomatoes, which most months of the year are so firm they might as well be green. Since such tomatoes are rarely as sour and flavorful as green ones, we sprinkle a pinch of salt and a squirt of lemon juice on each slice before dredging it to coax out more tomato flour.

Sourcery: Green Tomatoes

Green Tomatoes rarely make it to market, so try to find a farm or farmstand you can request them from. Since the season for green tomatoes is longer than that of ripe tomatoes – because they’re available from the moment the fruit appears on the vine until the first frost – just talk to a local tomato grower. We’ve never met one who hasn’t been delighted to turn his or her green tomatoes into greenbacks.

For6 people

Cooking Time30 min

Cooking Time - Text30

Cooking Methodfrying

CostInexpensive

Moderate

Total Timeunder 1 hour

OccasionFamily Get-together

Recipe Courseside dish

Dietary Considerationkosher, low cholesterol, low saturated fat, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Mealbreakfast, brunch, lunch

Moodblue

Taste and Texturecrisp, crunchy, juicy, sharp, tart

Type of Dishvegetable

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds green tomatoes (about 6-8 medium tomatoes)
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 3 cups peanut oil
  • 3 batches Lee Bros. All-Purpose Dry Dredge (below)
  • Kosher salt, if needed
  • Lemon juice, if needed
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons stone-ground cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • A sprinkling of bread crumbs for quick browning, if dredging fish or oysters
  • ¾ cup whole or lowfat buttermilk (preferable whole)
  • 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from 3-4 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ cup finely minced fresh basil
  • ¼ cup finely minced green onions
  • ¼ cup finely minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

Instructions

  1. Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator not more than 2 days. Makes 1 1/4 cups.

  2. Make the dredge: In a medium bowl, sift the flour, cornmeal, salt, and pepper together twice. Stir and turn out into a flat surface. Pres fish or green tomatoes or oysters or chicken or clams into the mixture on all sides and shake the excess loose.

  3. Cut out the stem ends from the tomatoes and slice them 1/4-inch thick with a serrated tomato or bread knife; reserve. Whisk the eggs and milk together in a broad, shallow bowl.

  4. Pour the oil into a 12-inch skillet and heat over medium-high heat until the temperature on a candy thermometer reads 365 degrees. (If using a different size skillet or pan, fill with oil to a depth of 1/3 inch)

  5. Heat the oven to 225 degrees. Set a baker’s rack on a cookie sheet on the top rack.

  6. Spread the dredge on a large plate or pie pan or in a small, shallow baking pan. Taste the tomatoes. They should have a bright tartness like citrus fruit. If they don’t, sprinkle the slices with salt and lemon juice. Then press 1 tomato slice into the dredge, once on each side, shaking any excess loose. Dunk in the egg mixture, then dredge the slice on both side again. Shake of any excess and place the slice on a clean plate. Repeat with more slices until you’ve dredged enough for a batch (3 or 4 slices). With a spatula, transfer the first batch of slices to the oil.

  7. As the first batch cooks, dredge the second batch of tomatoes, but keep a watchful eye on the first. Once the slices have fried to a rich golden brown on one side, about 2 minutes, flip them carefully and fry for 2 minutes more, or until golden brown. Transfer the fried tomatoes to a plate lined with a double thickness of paper towels and leave them to drain for 1 minute.

  8. Transfer the slices to the baker’s rack in the oven, arranging them in a single later, so they remain warm and crisp. Repeat with the remaining slices until all the green tomatoes have been fried. Serve right away with Buttermilk-Lime Dressing.

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