Serious Eats: Recipes

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.

Win Mary Mac's Tea Room

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Mary Mac's Tea Room to give away this week.

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