06 October 2010

The End of Summer

The point of frying slices of green tomatoes in a cornmeal crust is to make use of a foodstuff that would otherwise go to waste. At the end of the growing season, whenever that is for you, the green tomatoes that remain on your tomato plant aren't going to get ripe. You can surrender to it, and let the tomato rot in your compost, but then you wouldn't get to eat fried green tomatoes, and that would be a shame.

Fried Green

Green tomatoes are astringent little things, almost as crisp as an apple and that really makes them perfect for frying. The heat softens them, and the astringency cuts through the fat flavor of the crust. Plus, they're simple. The only trick is to pick the tomatoes when they're truly green. If they've started to ripen and soften they'll loose some of their punch. Not that they won't taste good when dipped in cornmeal and fried, just that they won't be fried green tomatoes.

Most frying recipes recommend that you remove your food from the fryer to a paper towel to drain. I think that makes the bottom of your fried item soggy. Set up a cooling rack over paper towels, several thicknesses of newspaper instead. (I set mine up directly over my cast iron griddle. When I'm done I just clean off the griddle. There's no waste and the griddle gets a bit of extra seasoning.)

Fried Green Tomatoes

2 large green tomatoes
1 egg
1 cup coarsely ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
oil for frying

Set up a cooling rack.

Fill your frying pan with oil to a depth of ½”, and place over medium heat. The oil is ready when it begins to shimmer. Do not allow the oil to boil.

Remove the stem of the tomatoes, and cut into slices just less than 1/2” thick.

Beat egg in a shallow dish.

In a second shallow dish, combine cornmeal, salt and pepper.

Dip sliced tomato into beaten egg, turning once. Remove with a fork and hold it over the egg bowl just long enough to get rid of the major drips. Place on top of cornmeal mixture and flip, sprinkle the top with cornmeal and press gently to ensure a good coating.

Place coated tomato gently in the hot oil. Oil should hiss and bubble. Cook on first side until lovely golden brown, and then turn once to brown the second side. You can cook more than one at a time. I can get three into my skillet, but don't overcrowd or your oil won't be able to retain enough heat to fry properly.

When second side is golden brown, remove the tomato slice to your prepared cooling rack. I eat mine with a knife at fork at the table, but if you choose to eat a few with your fingers before bringing the batch out to the table I certainly won't tell.

1 comment:

  1. You've just saved our stubborn green plum tomatoes. They simply refuse to ripen. :)



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