Fried Green Tomatoes

Late summer in Kentucky means that tomatoes are everywhere.

Now, as Glenda said the other day, the simplest recipes are often the best. The ones that don't even need to be written down. The ones that let the flavor of fresh summer produce shine through. In my family, the go-to recipe is Fried Green Tomatoes. Sometimes I think we have as many variants as we do relatives. My aunt uses a flour coating and a nonstick skillet. My brother soaks his 'maters in buttermilk and hot sauce before battering them and placing them in the deep fryer.   I like a flour/cornmeal mix, a bite of heat, and the smooth texture that can only be accomplished with a cast iron skillet.

First, I pick out two or three green tomatoes. It's best if they're at the "almost ripe" stage.

Then, I slice them thin. A mandoline does this best.

There's simply no replacement for cast iron. Preferably the kind that's been seasoned for decades.

Then, I make a dredge of one part all-purpose flour to one part corn meal. I season with salt, fresh cracked pepper, and some cayenne. I temper the cayenne to the tastes of my dining companions.

Then, I add some bacon grease to the cast iron skillet and heat on medium-high heat. Now, I recently received an email from Southern Living which suggested "lightening up" your tomatoes with vegetable oil and a non-stick skillet. I think this is the worst advice I've ever heard. I choose to treat myself to Good Tomatoes once or twice a summer and eat sensibly and exercise to counteract the splurge. But, if you have a dietary or health reason to not use bacon grease, vegetable oil works perfectly well. Whatever your choice, fry small batches until golden brown. Expect plenty to be eaten well before they make it to the table.


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