One night, when I was about 10 years old, my family gathered around the living room and watched the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes.” And even though I don’t remember the plot or point of the movie, I do remember enjoying it when I was a kid and so, have a childhood founded affinity to actual fried green tomatoes.
Lucky for me, my parents let me come over and steal food from their garden whenever I want and tomatoes are always first on my list. Mostly because they’re delicious, but also because the smell of tomato plants makes my brain do the “It’s summertime!” dance. So if you’re ever near me and a tomato plant at the same time, don’t be alarmed when you get a leaf shoved in your face until you agree that it’s the best smell in the whole world. Just ask Russ.
The other day, Russ and I decided to try our hand at southern cooking and make fried green tomatoes as an appetizer. After stealing 4 pale green tomatoes from my parent’s yard, we marched back to my apartment, suited up, and prepared to create the golden glory that is fried food.
Despite my domestic neurosis that include compulsive cleaning and organization, I am no Martha Stewart. In fact, my kitchen jitters have gotten worse since Mr. I’m Low Key About Everything And Can Cook Like Nobody’s Business came into my life, so I have no problem admitting that I googled this recipe. Follow along as you like and remember to spice it to your taste buds.
4 green tomatoes
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I use plain because I like to spice it up myself)
Spices (include the obvious salt and pepper and then add whatever you like)
Vegetable Oil for frying
Once your tomatoes are sliced nice and thick (about 1/2 inch), whisk the eggs and milk together in a bowl deep enough to dip the tomato slices in. Mix the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, and spices together on a plate. On top of the salt and pepper, I like to add cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, and anything else that strikes my fancy at the time. Put the flour on its own plate.
1. Into the flour to coat each slice
2. Into the egg-milk mixture briefly
3. Into the delicious, crumbly cornmeal-bread crumb-spice mixture
Heat the oil in a pan until its of frying temperature (not too hot or else you’ll get scalding hot oil all over your face). Add tomato slices. Make sure they don’t touch each other so they get nice and fried on all sides. Fry until golden brown (about 2 minutes) and then flip to fry the other side. When finished, they should be that golden brown color that we all love so much.
I like to dip mine in a little bit of ranch dressing and Russ likes to dip his in a gallon of ranch, but they’re great on their own or you can get fancy and make your own aioli.
In the end, Russ and I fried 15 slices of green tomatoes and laughed at how we would have to reheat them in the oven because no one in their right mind would eat that many in one sitting. About 15 minutes later, we had one empty plate, two full stomachs, and zero left over fried green tomatoes. Appetizer shmappetizer. At least they were vegetables.