Fried Green Tomatoes, are the mysterious appetizer that have very little acclaim, but amazing flavour and texture. The green tomatoes are found in most farmers markets this time of year, and if you didn't know what to do with them, now you know!
Song of the day: Bring Me To Life - Evanescence.
Fried Green Tomatoes are not just an unripe tomato, but a blank canvas for the discovery of many foodies to play with and create, as we have done today. Packed with a slight acidity and coated with a highly seasoned crispy coating, giving us a delicious appetizer for your next gathering.
I had no clue about this recipe until I watched a movie called Fried Green Tomatoes. I remember watching this movie and asking a friend if this tomato recipe was for real, and I was assured that it was. Being the curious sort that I am I had to try them. I did do some research finding out they originated in the southern United States. Only in the south as they say, would something like this be created. Fried crispy, the use of some extraordinary produce. I found out that they coated the green tomato with cornmeal which when I first tried it was so crispy and nutty with the juices of the tomato and its acidity peaking out at every chance. Very interesting flavour combination it is, and thank god for movies such as this one with Jessica Tandy and Kathy Bates, that introduced the world to a little southern cuisine and the makings of Fried Green Tomatoes.
Now that the weather has gone from cold, dark, and gloomy, to warm, sunny and bright, the outdoor markets are starting to open and people are leaving their homes to venture outside and capture some of that natural vitamin "E" that we so lack thereof in the winter months. One market in particular that we frequent quite a bit in their glorious months is the 104th street market. One thing for sure is that there could not be a better location for this market I believe. Nestled in a few streets and avenues along 104 and 101, amongst heritage loft buildings, new condo development, and specialty food, cafes, and retail shops, it gives the true feeling of Metropolis heart of the city vibe. Nicoletta and I love the centre of the city, the hustle and bustle of people, the sounds of the future and development. One day we dream to have a very modern industrial loft combined with an antique/vintage warm flair, I guess you can say we are a bit eclectic, and so it is.
Well, back to the market, so many vendors, lots of samples, a food court in the centre with musicians playing, singing, and at the beginning Gull Valley Greenhouses. This is where we saw those plump bright green tomatoes. Nicoletta has never had fried green tomatoes, and I love exposing her to different things to broaden her horizons, so green tomatoes made their way into our market bag.
The key to a good consistent fried green tomato is to cut it a little on the thick side, about ¼ inch thick. If you slice them too thin, the tomato just softens and falls apart as you try to move them. Cut this way, thicker that is, keeps the tomato intact allowing the centre to soften and the edges to hold that beautiful plump juiciness whole until you cut or bite into them.
Eggs and Breadcrumbs here we come to become Fried Green Tomatoes!
This process is quite easy, I am one that loves being organized so with that being said there is a bowl of eggs seasoned well and whisked to a nice frothy creaminess. In another bowl Italian style breadcrumbs. Traditionally these tomatoes are coated with cornmeal, but as of late we have done quite a few recipes with cornmeal and opted to take a break from this ingredient as not wanting to get tired of it. The Italian bread crumbs offer a wonderful flavour and texture. One other thing to remember before you start bathing these beauties is to season both sides with salt and pepper. This will start toning the acidity down a bit also bringing out some of that juiciness that will be encapsulated by the wonderful textural coating.
Once the tomatoes are all coated, a large saute pan is needed with some good E.V.O. oil. When the oil gets hot you place the rounds in and have to pay close attention as you do not want to burn them. You want a nice deep golden look to them, and so with a spatula you lift an edge to see the colour, then flip and do so for the other side. Onto a paper towel to get some of that excess oil off and we are almost ready to eat these beauties.
I wanted something to spark a little more flavour. Into the fridge I go and scan and my eyes fix on two things. A jam, Saltspring Kitchen Co. Sour Cherry, Rhubarb & Rosemary, that we brought back from Salt Springs Island, and a nice spicy sriracha sauce. I say self what are we going to do and into a bowl both of these go with a quick mix and there you have it. The sauce that will kick up these Fried Green Tomatoes just a few notches.
I love that sound when you either bite in or cut in and there is that crackling. You know it is going to be good when it is accompanied by an aroma both from the seasonings and the sriracha jam. The flavour of the coating is magnificent. The herbs, cheese, rustic crumbs just scream flavour. Then the tomato with its firm border giving way to the most plump, juiciest flavour that an earth jewel can give. The eggs holding that crispness to the tomato well and even the seasoning in that with some smoky paprika, onion powder, salt, and pepper, elevating the flavour profile yet another notch. The most interesting part, the jam. The sour cherry and rhubarb, sweet and tart at the same time, infused with the robust pine
The most interesting part, the jam. The sour cherry and rhubarb, sweet and tart at the same time, infused with the robust pine flavour of the rosemary, and just when you think this is the bomb, in comes the sriracha to do a little Mexican hot dance on your tongue. The flavour marries well into the crispy tomatoes and overall this recipe is a great all round dish that is both enticing and aromatic.
Next time you are planning a gathering, try some of these Fried Green Tomatoes. I am sure the movie will come up. Interesting enough the movie is about a woman who is having difficulties in her life and feels unseen, and unheard, which I think a lot of us feel at times until she meets an old woman who tells her a story and she begins to redefine her ways and discovers her true self. Recipes are just like that, once unheard of and unseen, then through sharing as we food bloggers do, or through friends, acquaintances do, our world of food grows and cultural boundaries are broken and we are able to speak truly from who we really are, and create from that canvas that only speaks opportunity.
Why not take a little trip to the south and try these Fried Green Tomatoes, you may be pleasantly surprised!
Song of the day: Bring Me To Life - Evanescence.Print
- 2 medium green tomatoes washed and dried
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- 2 eggs
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cracked black pepper
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
- 4 tbsp e.v.o. oil
- 3 Tbsp sour cherry, rhubarb, rosemary jam (or whatever berry jam you may have)
- 1 tsp sriracha sauce
- Cut tomatoes into ¼ inch thick rounds.
- Season both sides with salt and pepper.
- In one bowl whisk together eggs, salt, pepper, onion powder, and paprika.
- In another bowl pour in Italian style bread crumbs.
- Take tomato rounds and coat in egg mixture.
- Then place in breadcrumbs and coat well so all is surrounded by the breadcrumb mixture.
- Shake off any excess bread crumb and place on a dish with parchment paper.
- In a large saute pan heat up olive oil.
- When oil is hot place in coated tomatoes.
- With a spatula lift up the edge of the tomato and if it is a nice deep golden brown, flip it over.
- This may take a couple of minutes.
- Do the same for the other side and when done, place cooked rounds on a paper towel.
- In a small bowl whisk jam and sriracha until incorporated.
- Place in a serving dish.
- In a nice serving dish place the fried green tomatoes.
- Have the the sriracha jam close by.
- Now it is ready to be served.
If you cannot find the Italian breadcrumbs, you can make your own. Blend bread crumbs, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, salt, pepper, onion powder, dried oregano, parsley, basil.
If you cannot find the jam we used then use whatever berry jam you have or can find.
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