fried green tomatoes

Hello, gorgeous (channel Streisand here).

I am seriously in love with Fried Green Tomatoes, or FGTs as we call them in our house.  So much so, in fact, that I very audibly gasped when I spotted a box full of green tomatoes as we walked through a very chilly (44 degrees!) Farmer’s Market on a recent Saturday morning.  I promptly ran to the ATM, as I had already burned through what little cash I had on hand, and snatched up a few ripe specimens.  Well, technically, they are unripe specimens, but you know where I’m going here.

My first introduction to FGTs came in a manner that is probably similar to how many of you came to know of them – via the movie.  TOWANDA!!!  Sorry, couldn’t help myself.  Then, on a family vacation to Savannah when I was 12, a vendor was selling the real deal along River Street.  The fam wasn’t too excited about them, but I loved them.  My parents should have been afraid, very afraid, of the young budding obsession for all things food that seemed to start to unfurl that day.  Like I said, no one else was too keen on them, so I happily munched away.   

A few years went by and when I saw volumes of green tomatoes left hanging on my parents’ tomato vines as the autumn chill started to set in, I immediately thought of FGTs.  Through the magic of the internet, I was able to search (Google wasn’t part of the common vernacular back then) for a recipe and turned up one that proclaimed itself to be the original recipe of the Whistle Stop Café made famous by the film. 

“I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.”

I’ve made hundreds, maybe even thousands, of FGTs in the years since.  (If you think I’m kidding or exaggerating, I actually went to the hospital after a major FGT fest last summer with an acute acid reflux attack.  I really like them.)  Over time, the original measurements and preparation instructions began to fade from memory and I developed my own style of making these.  They may not be true to the Whistle Stop, but they are a definitive part of our summer cuisine.  FGTs are one of the first things I make when the tomato crops start popping up mid-spring and they are among the last things I make as we close out another summer and usher in fall.

The perfect tomato is Granny Smith green, with just a hint of a rose blush.  Sliced thickly, the tomatoes then soak in a buttermilk, garlic and hot sauce bath.  Once fried, the crisp crunch of the cornmeal coating against the slightly softened tomato creates an amazing contrast.  Drizzled with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice and several dashes of your favorite hot sauce, they are perfect as an appetizer, a side dish or your whole meal.  Well, maybe not that last part unless you’ve got some Prilosec handy…

fried green tomatoes

recipe:  jb’s pour house

4-5 baseball sized (or larger!) green tomatoes

2 c. buttermilk

3-4 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 ½ c. yellow cornmeal

¾ c. all-purpose flour

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Canola oil

Lemon, cut into wedges

Hot sauce (recommended:  Frank’s Red Hot)

Remove core from tomatoes and slice into ¼” to ½” rounds.  Place a large resealable plastic bag into a mixing bowl.  Place tomato slices, buttermilk, garlic cloves, 1 tsp. salt, ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, and several dashes of hot sauce into bag.  Seal, mix together, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to 1 ½ hours.

Pour enough canola oil into a large skillet to measure approximately ½” up the side of the pan.  Turn heat to medium high.  Remove tomatoes from refrigerator.  In another plastic bag, combine cornmeal, flour, 1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper.  Mix to combine.  Remove tomato slices from buttermilk and gently shake to remove excess liquid.  Add about 4-5 tomato slices to cornmeal mixture at a time.  Seal bag and shake to thoroughly coat tomato slices.  Carefully add to hot oil and fry, about 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown.  Remove to a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet and season lightly with salt.  Repeat with remaining tomato slices, adding additional canola oil if needed.

Serve warm with lemon wedges and hot sauce.

Enjoy a little taste of the South and one of my all-time favorite foods!

– j

 All content and photographs © 2010 jb’s pour house

Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter


3 thoughts on “fried green tomatoes

  1. You went to the HOSPITAL last summer after FGTs???!!!??? Do your parents know this? I haven’t had FGTs since I was a girl, and then I thought they were only so-so. This may be the summer to try them again. But, Jen, please — moderation in all things! Love, Marcia/Mom

  2. Pingback: steak milanese « jb's pour house

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s