Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fried Green Tomatoes...a Southern Delicacy!

 
What sort of southern food blog would this be without a recipe for fried green tomatoes.  They are like sweet tea, cornbread, and fried chicken, such southern staples that if you don't know how to cook them, you are not considered legitimate as someone who should be trying to tell others about southern food.  However, I will say that they are not as widely well liked as the other foods I mentioned.   Not all southerners love fried green tomatoes, you either love them or you hate them.  I happen to fall in the love category, my husband definitely falls in the 'get those things away from me' category.
   
When I first got married, years ago, I thought that I could change my husband's picky eating habits just by introducing him to the foods he said he hated.   I was wrong.   One night, I fried some green tomatoes for supper and when he came in that night, he said, something really smells good.  He didn't see the green tomatoes, so when we sat down I told him to close his eyes and I had a surprise for him that I just knew he was going to love.  He said it better not be liver or something...no chance of that, I hate liver myself.   I cut a bite of the fried green tomato and put it in his mouth and he bit into it and if you could have seen his face!  He spit and gagged and carried on like I had poisoned him.  If he had swallowed it, I just know he would have had to have gone to the hospital and had his stomach pumped or something.  I should have known that someone who doesn't even eat ripe tomatoes was probably not going to to eat green ones.

When fried green tomatoes became such a talked about southern food, mainly because of the movie with the same name, people in the south found it sort of funny.  All of these Hollywood types trying them for the first time, people cooking them on food shows and talk shows, it just seemed sort of bizarre to us.  Fried green tomatoes, originally,  were a food basically of poor country folks who more than likely breaded and fried just about anything to feel like they had meat and something filling to eat.  They are much like so many foods we eat in the south, they came about because people took what they had available and made the best of it.  A talent that more people are going to have to develop to get by in the future more than likely.  

Just like cornbread, fried chicken and sweet tea, each southern cook probably fries green tomatoes a different way to some degree.  Some use corn meal, some use flour, some use a mixture of both.  Some fry in oil, some in bacon drippings, some in shortening. Some dip in milk, some in buttermilk, some in an egg wash...on and on.  Here is what I use:

2-3 medium to large size green tomatoes
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour (plain or self rising, doesn't matter)
salt
pepper
Cajun seasoning (optional)
oil for frying (I use Canola)
1 tsp. bacon drippings (optional)


Slice the tomatoes in thick slices, not too thick, about 1/4 inch thick.  Place in a bowl and pour the buttermilk over them.  Let them sit in the buttermilk for 15 -20 minutes.

Mix the cornmeal and flour in a shallow dish or pie plate and dredge the tomato slices a couple at time in the mixture.  Turn them over and pat the cornmeal mixture into them well. 



Pour about an inch of oil in a skillet and heat to around 350 degrees or until it is sizzling.  Make sure your oil is hot enough (but not too hot) or the tomatoes will be greasy and the batter may not stay on.  Drop a little of the cornmeal mixture in the oil and it should sizzle. Leave room in the pan to turn the slices.   Some people fry their green tomatoes in bacon drippings and while that sure does taste good, it's probably not really all that healthy.  I get the same flavor by using Canola oil and just dropping about a teaspoon of bacon drippings in it.  It really does enhance the flavor without being pure bacon grease.






Sprinkle each slice with a little salt, black pepper, and some Cajun seasoning, which is optional.  It gives them a little spiciness, but if you don't like spicy just leave it off.   Only turn once or twice while cooking or they will fall apart.


 

 
 Remove to a paper towel lined plate and serve immediately.
 








38 comments:

  1. Has your husband ever come around to eating good things like Fried Green Tomatoes? :) I use buttermilk in mine, too. Nicely done!

    Jackie@Syrup and Biscuits

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    1. No such luck, I scarred him for life...lol. He has come around to eating a few of the ethnic foods that I cook, but he won't eat anything green. I love your blog btw. :)

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  2. i wish i could make these...sadly i can never get green tomatoes up here in pa....

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    1. I would hate that. Maybe next year plant you a couple of plants so you can have some. Thanks for commenting!

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    2. I spent the first 40 years of my life in Pennsylvania. I have a couple suggestions for those who are in the northern states and struggle to get green tomatoes. Make freinds of your local farmers market produce suppliers and ask them to sell you a small basket of green tomatoes. Give them your phone number so that they can be sure you will pick up your order so that they don't pick produce that they could otherwise sell later as red tomatoes (most realize that if you didn't pick them up that they could probably sell them to someone else).

      Also for those like me that like to eat these year round but do not live in the southern states where that could be an option, here is the solution.

      Canned Green Tomatoes for frying later.

      Sterilize jars. Wash and slice green tomatoes. Place in quart jars in stacks to 1 inch from the top and do not pack them down. Add 1/2 tsp. salt to each jar. Fill with rooom temp. water to within 1/2 inch of top. Boil lids and screw snug on jars but not tight. Boil in Hot Water Bath method for 10 - 12 minutes. Remove, tighten lids and allow to cool. Listen and watch for good seals. Date your jars. Have had these last for two years but don't know about longer as they were eaten.

      To prepare for frying, drain jars and carefully remove the tomatoes. If done properly, they should still feel firm like a fresh green tomato. Place in colander and rinse lightly to remove excess salt and packing water. Let drain while preparing your coating and heating your oil. Finish as you would normally cook them and ENJOY!!!

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    3. Thanks for sharing how to can green tomatoes. I love fried green tomatoes and so did my Mom. When my mother was gravely ill my Dad fried her green tomatoes all summer...then he canned some so he could fry her some in winter. To me that was so special! Thanks for taking me down memory lane with a good memory.

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    4. you can freeze them on a cookie sheet after you batter them then put into freezer bags is what I've always done

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    5. There's only 2 things that money can't buy and that's true love and homegrown tomatoes!

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    6. this is my all time favorite meal [not good for you..the way I fry them.] lol I use like you cornmeal and flour. salt and pepper. BUT I have to fry them in bacon grease and a little butter. then sprinkle; a little more salt on them after they come out of the hot skillet. I have cut salt out of my diet except for corn on the cob and fried green tomatoes...I can make a meal on them easily...I am on a diet... you are killing me...I leep looking at the green tomatoes on the vine.. will they make it to red. will I stick to the diet...???I doubt it..

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    7. Thank you sooooo much Mary Coon for sharing how to can green tomatoes! It will be so helpful, once I do it. I love fried green tomatoes and will be so nice to have them year round :) Thanks again!

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    8. Since I am not in a position to plant tomatoes, PUBLIX normally will have some. You may have to ask sometimes, but they even have them in the winter most of the time. I think they probably leave them in the back until they turn red (or go bad as we say in our house). I've most always been able to get them there. They don't put them out with the vegetables (produce) because they think they have to be red for people to buy them. So, if you live in an area that has a PUBLIX, or maybe any grocery store will have some in the back. It never hurts to ask and I've been able to get have them most of the time. I will fry them and take them directly over to my 97 year old daddy, who is normally on the front porch in his swing, and he just opens the container and eats them right on the spot, uses his fingers and eats all of them. I can't use much corn meal as I would like because they bother his false teeth. I figure at 97 years old you should get your tomatoes any way you want them. Thanks so much for all your posts, I try most of them and they are very good.

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  3. Fried green tomatoes are also a way to use up what is left on the vines just before the first frost comes!

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  4. We've never used a sauce but I am going to have to try some with them at some point. Never tried cajun seasoning either but I will have to try that as well as I do love a bit of spice! Green tomatoes was one of the main reasons my mom and dad grew tomatoes every year. I am also going to try the oil/bacon grease combination!!

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  5. I grew up with them dredged in flour and fried to golden brown in crisco shortening and then with sprinkling of brown sugar on top....but these sound like something I will try next year when green tomatoes make another appearance, but without the cajun seasoning, not much for that cajun taste, thanks for the receipe!

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  6. Funny story about fried green tomatoes... I lived in the South for a few years when I was a teenager and have had a soft spot in my heart for Southern living/cooking. However I now live in the Northeast section of the country but I still try to cook some Southern food favorites. So toward the end of this past summer, my neighbor had a veggie stand. I drove up to his stand one day and asked if he had any green tomatoes. He looked at me like I was nuts, "Why on earth would you want those? They probably won't even ripen on the windowsill!" I convinced him to pick me some...and sell them at half price. I told him I'd be back with a treat for him. I fried up some tomatoes for him the next day...he loved them! I introduced fried green tomaotes to a dyed-in-the-wool Yankee farmer :)

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  7. Darlene HouchensMarch 3, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Enjoying your recipes, will try this when garden is ready, do you happen to have a hot mango sauce recipe to serve with them?

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  8. Love fried green tomatoes. Growing up and as a young adult I did not like squash cooked with onions.....until my grandmother came for a visit. Not only did she cook the squash and onions but she sliced the yellow crook neck squash in circles, battered them like you do green tomatoes and fried them. I was hooked on fried squash after that....and the other kind too.

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  9. Great story - hate he doesn't like them! I saw a recipe that showed fried green tomatoes on toasted bread with lettuce and bacon! Oh, I have to try those. I drain my fried green tomatoes on a rack with the paper towels underneath, which keeps the bottom row from becoming soggy! I dip in flour, then in egg wash, then in bread crumbs or cornmeal mixed with parmesan cheese. I sprinkle salt on them after I remove from the skillet. Gotta get some green tomatoes next time I get to the fruit stand. They are closed today, darnit.

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  10. I love this recipe and I'll try it. I live in CT where green tomatoes are hard to find but I'll check the farm stands this summer. Can this also be made with tomatoes that are lightly red but still hard?

    If I lived down South I would eat my way through it and have to hike the Appalachian Trail home.

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    1. absolutely use the pink ones too!! we prefer them a little pink just because they are not so tart.....my mom used egg wash and saltine cracker crumbs on them...

      I always ask the produce guys if they have any green ones in the back... they save them now and when I come in they will tell me they have green ones waiting!!

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  11. I cook and can green tomatoes. I fine the best way to keep green tomatoes is to freeze them. Now wait a minute here. You have to do it just like this. Fix your green tomatoes just like you were going to put them in grease and cook. But don't but in grease.
    Take cookie sheets and line them with wax paper. But your ready to cook green tomatoes on a cookie sheet do not stack tomatoes. Put cookie sheets in Frezzer. When tomatoes are Frezzen stack into a freezer bag. Put back in freezer.
    When you need them in the winter get your grease ready and hot drop in on grease and fry don't keep any out of the Frezzer they will get soft. So keep frozen until u put them in the grease. I will deep fry mind sometime. Either way they come out great! Enjoy

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    1. I used to do this also when I had a garden! I found frozen breaded green tomatoes at Walmart one time and they tasted just like my own flash frozen ones!

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    2. IM A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN,A DYING SPECIES,TRUE SOUTHERNER,ENJOY,PUT SOME SOUTH IN YOUR MOUTH AND REAL-A-LIZE WHAT YOU BEEN MISSING THANK YOU JESUS. JIMMY MC.

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  12. Has anyone made a BLT sandwitch with fried green tomatoes? They are better than regular BLT's. I am from Tn. so we know our grn tomatoes.

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    1. Add some pimento cheese,and you have a great sandwich!!

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  13. I have frozen the green fried tomatoes, I coat them w/the mixture, put them on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer, then when frozen place in a freezer bag, you can take out as many as you want, let thaw a few min. then fry as you would the day you froze them.

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  14. Love this site! I had a neighbor that was a vegetarian and he loved cubed green tomatoes and sliced okra (both breaded)fried with cubed potatoes. Something different and delicious!

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  15. I am from NH originally and my Mom is from Vermont. My Mom did fried green tomatoes in a completely different way. She would slice them about 1/4 inch also and salt and pepper them and then fry them plain (no breading) in olive oil with minced garlic and sometimes sauteed onions. I am a professional chef and I make them both ways, but my Mom's way is really great with scrambled eggs and bacon and a hearty toasted bread.

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    1. I love your mom's idea of 'fried' green tomatoes! It's a great carb free recipe and to have it with scrambled eggs and bacon sounds even better! The hearty toasted bread would be fantastic too but alas...! Thanks for posting it. Do you have your own site chef Dori?

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  16. I live in Pa---most of my life. Grew up eating fried ripe tomato sandwiches. Love them. Fried in bacon grease---on soft white bread with mayo--sometimes bacon crumpled on top. Never had a green one but the ripe ones are delicious.

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  17. I LOVE fried green tomatoes! Have you ever had Green Tomato Pie? I shared the recipe last week on my blog http://ramblingsfromthepast.blogspot.com/2013/06/aunt-evas-green-tomato-pie.html
    My tomatoes are coming along. Seeing your post has me talking to them and urging them to get big quick!

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  18. What part of KY are you from? My family is from BG.

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    1. Where is BG? I'm from Pike County, Kentucky. Land of the Hatfields and McCoys.


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    2. I just realized... Bowling Green.. LOL

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  19. Properly rendered bacon fat is perfectly healthy, especially if you cook your tomatoes and a high enough temperature in order to sear the outside and seal it from soaking up the grease. Too many people make the mistake of putting any items to be fried in before the grease is hot enough. Better a big sizzle then a little fizzle. Fo'shizzle. Not only that but it tastes like da bomb.

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  20. I use 1/3 Kentucky Kernel Seasoned flour, 2/3 yellow corn meal, teaspoon of kosher salt, teaspoon of black pepper, teaspoon of smoked paprika for my dry mix. Egg bath consists of egg and white milk.

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  21. No Cajun spice for me. Like my fried green maters just like my tea...sweet. I add just a sprinkle of sugar to my dry mix. YUM

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  22. Love your take on the history as to why Fried Green Tomatoes and Hollywood. LOL So funny! I had a similar experience with someone NOT raised in the south. My boss from Chicago. I along with my co-workers were so anxious to treat him to a Southern Cooked Meal. Of course, I was chosen to be the cook. Which is okay because I love it and I'm a pretty good cook if I do say so myself. I have 4 co-workers who all love my fried green tomatoes as do I! With that being said, we waited anxiously as he took his first bite. However, I saw the look in his eye as he laid his fork back to his plate. Not being one to beat around the bush, I exclaimed, "You don't like them do you?" He looked me directly in the eye... and not being a southern... he said, "No, I really don't. Maybe its an acquired taste!" LOL... Bless his heart! He really doesn't know what he's missing. By the way, I make my with meal, butter milk and fry them in Olive Oil. ~Rhonda

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