If you grew tomatoes this year, chances are you've still got a few green ones sulking on the vines. You've been holding out hopes that they are going to ripen. Time to face the truth, and today's recipe will ease the pain.
Southerners long ago figured out that green tomatoes, lightly breaded and pan-fried, have a delicious tang that you will look forward to. You might even find yourself sneaking a few in August next year. Smoky, spicy mayo is my favorite companion for fried green tomatoes.
This version has one surprising ingredient: tomato leaves. I know, I know. You think they are toxic. Harold McGee says think again, which is good enough for me, though you can of course omit them and increase the parsley if you are really concerned. Personally, I find the smell of tomato leaves completely intoxicating, so I love the chance to infuse a bit into my sauce.
Here's a tip about the tomato-breading procedure: Use one hand to transfer the food to the flour and from the flour into the egg. Then use the other hand to pluck it out of the egg, into the breadcrumbs, and then into the pan. This helps you keep the breading on the food and off of your fingers, and makes the whole operation neater.
- For the sauce:
- 1/2 cup prepared mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup minced white onion or shallot
- 3 tomato leaves, rubbed between fingers and minced
- 1/4 cup loosely packed minced parsley
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- For the tomatoes:
- 12 slices unripe green tomato about 1/4" thick (slice parallel to base)
- 1 cup flour
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs or cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Oil for pan frying
- Black pepper
Put the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs in 3 shallow bowls near your stove. Season the breadcrumbs with the onion powder, garlic powder, tarragon and 1 teaspoon of salt. Heat a large skillet over a medium high flame and add about 1/8" of oil.
When the oil is sizzling hot, dredge each tomato slice first in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumb mixture. Push the breadcrumbs on so they coat it well. Fry until golden brown on one side, about one minute, then flip and quickly brown the other side. Remove to paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the spicy mayo.