Monday, November 29, 2010

Fried Green Tomatoes

Well, well. Fried food we meet again. I used to badly malign my step daddy for frying up catfish in a cast iron pan and shredded wheat scraps (really delicious, by the way) preferring my usual methods for fat free cooking. Lately, however, i've been delving into this new world of food preparation, and think i like it a little too much.

I was intimidated to try fried green tomatoes, having had so many disgusting versions in various restaurants. But i really had the advantage: fresh eggs, and fresh tomatoes. These tomatoes came from my big Japanese Black Trifele tomato and held up great throughout the process. I cut them about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and soaked them in some briney (salty) water while i prepared the rest of the ingredients, and tasty they were indeed! Plenty of flavor, in both the fruit and the coating, not greasy feeling, and well paired with the sauces i whipped up and some turkey bacon wrapped serrano peppers stuffed with garlic cloves. Yum.

For the batter:
  • One bowl with 2 eggs beaten with a splash of milk and garlic puree (the stuff you buy in a jar)
  • One bowl masa
  • One plate with crumbs (combine ingredients in a coffee mill or blender to get a very fine mix):
    • Polenta/Grits/Corn meal, blended finely with:
      • 1 piece wheat toast
      • Salt
      • Pepper
      • Smoked paprika
      • Dried kaffir lime leaf
      • Chilly powder
For the sauces:
Green sauce
  • Spoonful mayonaise
  • Homemade hot sauce
    • Vinegar
    • Serranos
    • Seasonings (Sssh, it's a secret)
  • Sauteed onions
Red sauce
  • Spoonful mayonaise
  • Homemade ketchup
Yeah, this was not a healthy meal, but it was tasty! I fried up some tilapia to round out the protein portion and supped from a plate full of steaming fried deliciousness! The tomatoes and fish were prepared in the same fashion:

  • Dip tomato slice in flour to coat both sides, tap excess off
  • Dip slice in egg batter to coat both sides
  • Place eggy slice onto plate of crumbs and coat both sides and edges
  • Heat oil in a pan until test droplet of batter sizzles when dropped in. I used olive oil thinly coating my pan: you really didn't need much
  • Cook one side until browned and flip. You may need to reduce the heat as you go along.
  • Repeat in batches, setting the finished tomatoes aside in a warming oven on a plate lined with paper towels. A lot of the oil will drain off and the tomatoes will continue to soften just a touch in the warm oven

Give your 'maters plenty of room so that they don't touch and watch how brown they get. My first few were much lighter than the last, but all were tasty. I think i preferred the lighter done ones just a bit.  The sauces really hit the spot, but were almost unnecessary. The key for super delicious FGTs is in seasoning the crumb mixture and not overcooking the tomatoes. I think pan frying these in a very thin layer of oil helped prevent the over sogging that deep frying would be prone to.

Cold weather encouraged me to harvest all my green tomatoes, so i may just have to make these again. Perhaps i'll invite guests over to help with the consumption, though.
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