Thursday, October 11, 2007

In search of a perfect Fried Green Tomatoes recipe

The autumn is truly here. Whereas only few weeks ago the sun was still warm and kind, then now we've been told to prepare ourselves for slush this weekend. I hope the predictions are unfounded, as I still hope to make it to the forest for one more wild mushroom hunt, so do keep your fingers crossed for me:) In any case, cooler autumn days also means the appearance of green tomatoes at the market, as there's simply not enough sun to ripen the otherwise grown-up tomatoes. We spotted huge boxes of them at the market last month already, and had to buy some. When I did the week-long eGullet foodblog recently, then a eGulleteer Scottie suggested his easy way for frying green tomatoes (I watched the movie again just a week earlier, incidentally), and made a lovely Sunday brunch of them.

Now I know there are lots of different ways to prepare the famous fried green tomatoes. I'd appreciate if you'd share your favourite version or any other tips and advice for preparing green tomatoes - there's plenty left, you see!

Fried Green Tomatoes
(Praetud rohelised tomatid)

green tomatoes*
finely ground cornmeal**
salt & pepper
Cayenne pepper
butter for frying

Mix cornmeal/cornflour, salt, pepper and Cayenne pepper on a small plate.
Cut tomatoes into 5 mm slices, crosswise, then dip into the cornmeal/cornflour mixture.
Heat a heavy frying pan on a moderate heat, add butter and allow to melt.
Layer tomato slices onto the frying pan and fry gently from both sides for a few minutes, until cornmeal/cornflour has browned a little and the tomatoes have softened.
Serve at once with fried eggs and a spicy mayonnaise sauce or adjika (a Georgian red pepper condiment).

* They must be fully grown tomatoes that are simply not red yet. Do not use undergrown green tomatoes, which contain high levels of glycoalkaloid tomatine, which isn't good for you. The amount in grown-up green tomatoes is negligible.
** You want the yellowish flour here, not the white starchy Maizena cornflour (UK)/cornstarch (US)!


Lydia said...

Pille, in the US it's called cornmeal, and it comes in yellow or white varieties (oh -- and blue or red cornmeal, which comes from the Southwest US). They all tend to turn the same color when cooked, though the blue looks a bit muddy. Fried green tomatoes are absolutely delicious.

Jennifer said...

Hi Pille,
I first learned to make fried green tomatoes by salting them and soaking them in buttermilk before dredging them in a mixture of all-purpose flour and cornmeal. I think the buttermilk enhances the sour goodness of the tomatoes and acts as an adhesive: it helps the batter stick. I love them with fried eggs too.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Love fried green tomatoes and the movie! I'm wondering if I find any on my plants when I get home this weekend. Alas, bad memory and my cookbooks in Dallas, don't have a recipe but I do use chipolte pepper in mine.

Kevin Kossowan said...

Interesting...I wasn't aware immature tomatoes were bad for you. I learned something today!

lobstersquad said...

I don´t fry, so my way with green tomatoes is to make a chutney. It´d probably make a good accompaniment to fried green tomatoes, too.

Kevin said...

Next time, try coating them with cultured buttermilk before dredging then in corn meal. The tang of the buttermilk is a perfect complement.

maarja said...

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Susan said...

Hey Pille! I love fried green tomatoes, but lately I've been making them baked. I swear they're delicious. I usually dip them in egg whites then in grits (just a coarser version of yellow cornmeal)and bake them in a hot oven (about 400-450 degrees F) until they are browned and crispy. I flip them once. I usually serve them with a roasted red pepper mayo sauce or a roasted yellow corn and cherry tomato salsa.

AnandaDevika said...

Nice to see I'm not the only one with too many green tomatoes! Last night I made a green tomato cake - I brought it to work and everyone loved it.
I haven't ever tried fried green tomatoes (first-time gardener), but y'all are making them sound good!

swirlingnotions said...

Love that photo, Pille! So funny that we're all stuck with green tomatoes now, after waxing on about what to do with all our ripe ones all summer. Anandadevika . . . I'd love to get your recipe for green tomato cake--I've never heard of that!

rachel said...

Must go looking for green tomatoes now!

DaviMack said...

Pille - Cayenne are hotter than jalapeño peppers, and jalapeños are roasted or smoked to become chipotle. Chipotle is generally much milder than cayenne, and chipotle has a lovely smoky flavor, usually.

Pille said...

Lydia – thanks for clarification. I didn’t realise it was so confusing :)

Jennifer – ok, I’ll keep ‘soak in buttermilk’ in mind for next time!

Tanna – chipotle is much hotter than Cayenne, isn’t it?

Kevin Kossowan –glycoalkaloid tomatine isn’t poisonous as such in small quantities, but it’s best to avoid it I guess.

Ximena – I’ve made green tomato chutney in the past, but we’ve already got zillion preserves & chutneys in the fridge, so I wanted to fry them :)

Kevin – thanks again, I’ll keep that buttermilk in mind!

Maarja – ma vaataks tõesti meelsasti!

Susan – thank you!!! That baking sounds even better (and much healthier) than frying!

AnandaDevika – green tomato cake? How unusual!! Will you share a recipe?

SwirlingNotions – K. took it – I think it’s pretty impressive!

Rachel – head to the Central Market !

DaviMack - I'm still learning my peppers. Thanks for the explanations!