Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fried Green Tomatoes

Right now, just before the onset of field-ripe tomatoes is the best time for green tomatoes and that quintessential Southern comfort food, fried green tomatoes. Some nights when we have green tomatoes, fried green tomatoes account for more than half of our appetizer sales. Fried green tomatoes seem to be a food that people around here cannot live without.

I have learned over the years that the correct tomatoes make all the difference in the end product. This shouldn't be a surprise, yet it took me a while to learn it. The tomatoes in the photo above are perfect. They are just starting to blush on the outside. Tomatoes ripen from the inside out, so when they are blushing on the outside, they are getting fairly pink in the middle as you can see in this photo. This tomato, not a stone green tomato, will make excellent fried green tomatoes. It is still very firm, a requisite for frying, has good acidity, also required, and yet it has started to develop some tomato flavor. A totally green tomato will be very acid, very firm, and taste more like a tomatillo than a tomato, not what we're looking for in fried green tomatoes.

And here they are in all their glory: fried green tomatoes. Dip the slices in egg wash and then in cornmeal and fry in a hot pan. For presentation purposes, we often stack them with some kind of salsa in between the layers, shown here with a tomato salsa. Sorry for the crappy photo; my camera is sub-optimal for food photography and has no way to override the flash.

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