Deep South Fried Green Tomatoes

Happy Labor Day Weekend Y’all!  Here is a special recipe for all of us who work hard and love to eat well.

I think we can all agree that some foods are just as Southern as they can be. Fried chicken, red velvet cake and most certainly fried green tomatoes are prime examples of what you can expect on menus when you visit us down here in the South. As much as we’d love for y’all to visit, you don’t have to cross the Mason-Dixon line to enjoy the delicacies that have made Southern cuisine famous.

My mama taught me to make fried green tomatoes and then, over time, I added my own little touches. Her green tomatoes are coated in corn meal and pan fried to a golden brown. She never served them with a sauce or topping. They were served as part of a meal during tomato season—one that might include dried beans, sliced raw onion, cantaloupe and some kind of meat.

The trick to making fried green tomatoes delicious is, once you’ve sliced them, to salt them and let them drain of the excess water for about 20 to 30 minutes. Blotting the tomatoes dry with paper towels before breading will help remove some of the excess salt but not all of it. Once they’re ready, we’ll be sure to use plenty of spices in the breading in the spices (you can adjust to your own tastes) because down here in the South we know there is no worse sin than bland fried food!

For these tomatoes, you’ll be using the standard breading method. This is a method you can use to bread almost anything. The main difference with these tomatoes is that we’ll be using seasoned corn meal instead of breadcrumbs for the final coating. It’ll go like this: a coating of seasoned flour, a dip of egg wash, and then a trip through the corn meal before giving them a little hot oil bath. The results are gonna make you feel as Southern as I am!

 

While you can deep fry these tomatoes, I don’t recommend it. It’s more about housekeeping than anything else, but frying tomatoes will dirty the oil and you won’t be able to use it more than a couple of times depending on how many tomatoes you cook. Pan frying is the best way to cook these. It means a tad more work, though. You’ll need to be sure to keep an eye on the temperature of the oil. You’ll want to keep lowering and raising the flame/heat to keep the oil at a constant temperature so the tomato cooks all the way without burning the crust.

If you want to serve these with a sauce, I suggest a horseradish sauce made with mayonnaise and a dab of ketchup for sweetness and color. Or you can opt for a Southern girl’s favorite dip for anything… Ranch dressing y’all!

 

Deep South Fried Green Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 green tomatoes medium large, very green tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup plain four
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper (or black pepper)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce of choice
  • 2/3 cup corn meal (or corn meal mix)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Slice the green tomatoes into 5 or 6 (1/4 inch) slices, discarding the ends. If you leave the brown part of the stem end in a slice of tomato it will be tough, so cut it out if part of it is in your first slice.
  2. Salt the tomato slices on both sides and let sit for 20 minutes. Then dry them with paper towels.
  3. Using 2 plates and a bowl, create your dredging station. Measure out the flour and corn meal, each on a separate plate and add the spices. Mix well and set aside. Break the egg into a bowl, whisk with a fork and add hot sauce.
  4. The dredging method is as follows. First coat the tomato slice in flour and knock off the excess. Then roll in the egg to coat, letting the excess drain back into the bowl. Then roll in the corn meal mix. You can coat all of the tomatoes while the oil is heating up.
  5. In a cast iron skillet, heat about ½ inch of vegetable oil over medium heat. The oil is ready when you put the handle end of a wooden spoon in and it bubbles around it, approximately 325 to 350 degrees.
  6. Add as many slices as your pan will allow but do not over crowd them. Fry on the first side for 3 to 4 minutes, then flip and cook for another 4 minutes. Then flip and fry for 1 more minutes on the first side. Forget what you have read elsewhere about only cooking them for 2 minutes a side! The tomato will not be cooked well enough. If they are browning too quick just turn the heat down for a minute. Remember, the tomatoes should be cooked through when they are done and crispy on the outside.
  7. Salt the tomatoes as soon as they come out of the oil but only on one side.
  8. Eat quickly as they do not hold they crunch for long!
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