Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fried Green Tomatoes

There are lots of ways I can start this post, but I prefer, "Frad green tomatuhs, ya'll!"  Have you ever had fried green tomatoes?  Have you ever made them?  Trust me when I say they're one of the best foods in the history of food, and trust me more when I say I always anger the frying gods when I attempt anything involving oil, heat, and batter.  I'm terrible at frying, but baked green tomatoes might be, well, sinful.  That said, I want to internet-apologize to my roommate for smoking up the house today and my neighbors for being the freak who ran outside with a smoking pan.  The result was worth it, and an added benefit is that I'm one near-fire closer to being an expert.

Moving on... I got this recipe from my friends Christopher and Elizabeth, two very dependable recipe providers.  They kind of had me at, "Have you made Paula Deen's..."  I ate these at their house, and I've kept the recipe in my arsenal since then.  When my grandmother let me pick several green tomatoes from her garden last week, I figured it was time to get my fry on.  Then my friend Julie posted to Facebook that she'd used this recipe (I shared it with her) this week, and I knew the time was right.

Sassy Fried Green Tomatoes

1 cup self rising yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp Creole seasoning
1 cup buttermilk
4 large firm green tomatoes, cut up into 1/2 inch slices
Veg or canola oil for frying

Combine dry ingredients in one bowl & place buttermilk in another bowl.
Dip tomato slices in buttermilk; dredge in dry mixture, and shake off excess.
In large skillet, pour oil to a depth of 1/2 inch; heat to 375 degrees (I just did med to med-high heat.)
Fry tomato slices, in batches, 4-5 min per side or until golden. (Um, watch this... may be 3 min.)
Drain on a wire rack over paper towels.

Shout out to Paula Deen for a fabulous recipe, Elizabeth F. for sharing it, and Julie B. for suggesting the addition of feta cheese!

The set-up.  Green tomatoes sliced with the 4 1/2" Serrated Knife from the Forged Cutlery Collection rest on the Cutting Board, buttermilk waits patiently in the Small Batter Bowl, and the mixture of dry ingredients does whatever a mixture of dry ingredients does in a Cake Pan.  By the way, the Cake Pan Set is ideal for dredging food in different mixtures.  Deep, wide, perfect.  I also have a Measuring Cup, a Measuring Spoon, and a container of Creole Seasoning out. (Tip: Frying recipes typically call for more dry mixture than required, so put half in a 2-Cup Prep Bowl.  You can use it if needed, but it's kept dry for future use if not.  Today was a perfect example, and now I have prepped breading for next time I get my hands on some tomatoes.)

The Pampered Pantry is full of fabulous rubs, seasonings, and other food products.  The quality is unmatched, and rubs hold their flavor for a long, long time.  This is especially important for people like me who are typically cooking for one and therefore don't use pantry items very quickly.

Fry!!!  This is the 10" Sauté pan from the Executive Cookware Collection, and its thickness ensures even heat distribution, very important when frying.  Ok, let me say this about my experience this morning.  First of all, I knew my tendency to let oil get too hot, thus burning coatings on second and third batches of whatever I'm making.  To avoid this today, I prepared two pans of oil instead of one.  I had the 10" Covered Skillet on another burner... uncovered.  Sure enough, this ensured excellent results for the majority of my tomatoes. Unfortunately, the oil got too hot after that, and everything else ended up a little dark.  Then the smoke began, and it was time to stop frying.

If you're like me, a clear picture of fried food makes your mouth water and your heart beat a little faster.  In fact, this is the reaction I'm having right now despite the fact that I just finished a lunch of the above photo.  These are real, and they just happened in my kitchen!  Check out this killer method for draining fried food: Cooling Rack on top of a Cookie Sheet with a paper towel between.  This ensures the tomatoes don't steam themselves to death on a simple pile of paper towels.  It also keeps you from using, well, a pile of paper towels.

How's your appetite?  How's your supply of green tomatoes?  Make these happen.

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