Leave it to me to go for the obvious. The Novel Food #5 event asks us to prepare a dish that has a connection to a published literary work, and given the time of year, the first thing that popped into my head was “Fried Green Tomatoes”, which is featured in the book “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” by Fannie Flagg. I read the book long ago – I think I was still a teenager, but even then I had a one track mind (food!) – the impression it left with me is that I really wanted to try fried green tomatoes.
Fast forward about 20 years. I still hadn’t tried them. Finally, I took the plunge – and I’ve got to say, they’re quite delicious, especially drizzled with some jalapeno hot sauce. I even got a nicely seasoned cast iron pan out of the deal (thanks, Mom!) Would make these again in a heartbeat – next time around, I’m thinking of doing a Fried Green Tomato BLT or Fried Green Tomato Eggs Benedict. I know I should have been a purist and used the recipe in the book, but this Tyler Florence recipe is pretty righteous.
Fried Green Tomatoes
recipe courtesy Tyler Florence
1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large unripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices, ends removed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Hot pepper sauce, for serving
Lemon wedges, for serving
In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, and cayenne together. Pour the buttermilk into a separate bowl and season with salt and pepper. Dip the tomatoes in the buttermilk and then dredge them in the cornmeal mixture, coating both sides well.
Place a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil. When the oil is hot, pan-fry the tomatoes (in batches if necessary) until golden brown and crispy on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Carefully remove the tomatoes and drain on paper towels. Serve with hot pepper sauce and lemon.