Cook the Book: Fried Green Tomatoes

"Make sure not to overcook your tomatoes—anything darker than a light golden brown and the tomatoes will turn to mush."

[Photographs: Caroline Russock]

After frying up a batch of exemplary fried okra I decided to use the still-hot oil to fry the green tomatoes I had picked up at the farmers' market. Fried Green Tomatoes I've tried before ranged from forgettable to truly transcendent (fried green tomatoes Benedict, anyone?)—but I'd never made them from scratch. With tomato season just beginning, I was anxious to see how my lovely green tomatoes would fry up.

John Ferrell's recipe from Mary Mac's Tea Room uses a small amount of cracker crumbs in the coating for an added element of crunchiness and a milk and egg milk dip to make sure the coating sticks to the tomato slices. The seasoning is simply salt and pepper which allows the tart, tangy flavors of the tomatoes really come through.

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There are two key factors that contribute to the success of the fried green tomatoes. The first is choosing tomatoes that are green but just a bit pliant to the touch. Not only will rock-hard green tomatoes not cook through during the brief fry, they also won't taste like anything.

The next step is making sure not to overcook your tomatoes—anything darker than a light golden brown and the tomatoes will turn to mush. But if you get tomatoes at just the right stage of ripeness and fry them just so, these tomatoes are one of the most delicious mid-summer indulgences out there.

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Cook the Book: Fried Green Tomatoes

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About This Recipe

Yield:6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cracker crumbs
  • 3 firm medium green tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Procedures

  1. 1

    Heat the vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or in a heavy, deep skillet to 350˚F. Line a plate with paper towels.

  2. 2

    In a small bowl, beat the egg; add the milk, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the black pepper. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cracker crumbs, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.

  3. 3

    Dip the tomato slices into the egg mixture, turning to coat. Dredge in the flour mixture until well coated. Place in the hot oil and fry until golden brown, turning once. Drain. Serve immediately.

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