Not only is Fried Green Tomatoes one of my all-time favorite movies, but it's a pretty good side dish as well. When it comes to making these, I usually wing it. But I thought I would try a recipe just to see if I was doing it right. Yep... I was. It never hurts to have the measurements to refer to and I always seemed to run out of the bread crumb mixture, so I doubled that part and made it through the process without having to make more.
What you'll need: green tomatoes, milk, eggs, white flour, italian bread crumbs, cornmeal, salt, pepper, vegetable oil, hot sauce (optional) Refer to the recipe for exact measurements.
What's that? Did I get these tomatoes at my local Farmer's Market? Why yes, yes I did!
Wash & cut the tomatoes in about 1/4 inch slices. Go ahead and discard the top and bottom pieces. They don't hold the coating well at all.
After all the tomatoes are sliced, pour about 1/2 inch of oil in a large skillet and heat on the medium setting for your stove top. In a bowl, whisk together the milk & eggs just until combined.
Place white flour on a plate. I was taught that all good food has levels of flavor. So if you go through one of your levels that is critical to the success of the dish and it lacks flavor... add it. So when I get the flour ready for coating, I add a little salt & pepper. You can also add hot sauce to your egg mixture. Just be aware of the likes of your consumers.
Combine on the next plate, the Italian bread crumbs, corn meal, salt & pepper. I am a huge fan of coarse, stone-ground cornmeal. One of the best places to get it is at your county fair. Our county fair has a very old machine that makes a loud popping sound as it grinds the corn. The kids from 4-H sell it in brown lunch bags at a very good price. I typically will buy enough to last the whole year and store it in freezer bags in my deep freeze with the date clearly marked. It gives a great texture to baked items. But I digress, ahem, use a small grind cornmeal for this recipe.
Be sure to set up your station right next to where you will be frying these green lovelies. I like to work in a clockwise manner.
Dip the flour coated tomato in the milk/egg mixture, a.k.a egg wash.
For this next step you may have to move a little quick. If you don't get the crumb mixture pressed on the tomato quickly, the egg wash may "roll" away and leave the flour coating showing through. You don't want this to happen. Why? I'll tell you. The flour coating seals the tomato and keeps the oil from penetrating the vegetable too much. The egg wash is to give the crumb mixture something to grab onto. If the egg wash rolls away, the crumb mixture won't stick and your left with bald spots on your tomatoes. And bald spots are only cute on babies :) Tap off any extra crumb mixture.
Fry only as many tomatoes as you have room, without crowding them. If you crowd them, the temperature of the oil will drop and you'll end up with soggy tomatoes. Once they brown, flip them (I use tongs) and let the other side brown. I drained them on a cookie sheet with several layers of paper towels.
Now these are truly yummy on their own, but when I was speeding through the local grocery knowing what I was making for dinner that night, I was stopped dead in my tracks when I saw these hot sauces. I'm usually pretty darn savvy when it comes to the avoidance of end caps in the grocery store and I am not wooed by fancy packaging. But the caps on these bottles were the most beautiful, earthy shades of wood. A very unexpected sight in a grocery where they make products scream at you. Upon further inspection, I saw that one was a Chipotle (fav!) and the other was Chile Lime (love lime!). I knew they would pair really well with this typical southern dish.
After making the tomatoes, I realized that I didn't plan for a main dish. Truth be told, I'm not a fan of frying things and for me, the process seems labor intensive. So the idea of producing a protein at the same time was a bit much. Maybe I could roast a chicken in the oven and then make the tomatoes. Better yet, have The Hubby grill something tasty. Anyway, I ended up serving this with a five-grain crusty bread. I'll plan better next summer when I make these again.