Alright, I’m done posting rhubarb for a while, promise! Fried green tomatoes are seriously one of my faves. It’s probably a good thing that I don’t see green tomatoes in the grocery store all that often, but when I do, I grab them and Matt knows what we’re having for dinner that night.
Currently, I don’t have any yard space, but we hope to buy a house in a few years, and when we do, I’ll most likely try my hand at gardening. I’m really on the fence about planting tomatoes, though. I mean, it sounds great and we eat a lot of them, especially during the summer; but I have to wonder if I would be able to restrain myself from picking all of the tomatoes when they are green, just to make this dish… Yeah, it’s a serious question to ponder…
Growing up, I occasionally indulged in fried green tomatoes, but Matt didn’t taste his first one until about five years ago. Before that, he wasn’t even aware that they were a real food that people, you know, ate. He thought it was just the title of a movie. A movie he has never seen, I might add.
But he’s quite the fiend for them now – yea! I’ve eaten many different incarnations and preparations of fried green tomatoes myself, but what I’m sharing here is my absolute favorite method. The Whistle Stop Café probably didn’t use panko, but I’m telling you, it works and produces the best fried tomato. Don’t cheat and skip the step where I tell you to let them chill in the fridge. If you do, the breading will fall apart on you when you’re frying them. And if green tomatoes are hard to come by for you too, then you might be tempted to throw a hissy fit. Don’t ask me how I know this.
Just follow this recipe exactly, and before you know it, you’ll be sitting down to a plate of absolutely addictive fried green tomatoes. Enjoy!
Source: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Cookbook
4 large green tomatoes
4 cups panko bread crumbs
4 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper
Canola oil, for frying
Grated pecorino romano cheese
Core the tomatoes and cut off the ends. Slice them into ½-inch rounds and pat them dry to get rid of any excess moisture. Sprinkle lightly with Creole seasoning on both sides.
Whisk together the eggs and a pinch of black pepper in a shallow bowl, like a pie plate. In another pie plate, combine the panko, salt, cayenne, and black pepper. Dip the tomato slices into the egg mixture, then into the panko mixture. Press to coat both sides very well, and make sure you get some crumbs up on the sides of the tomatoes. Place the tomatoes in a single layer onto a wire cooling rack placed over a baking sheet. Place in the refrigerator for half an hour to set the breading.
In a large skillet over medium heat, pour in about 1 inch of canola oil. Test the oil for readiness by sprinkling in a few crumbs of panko. If they sink, the oil is too cold; if they burn right away, the oil is too hot. Perfect oil means that the crumbs will float to the top and start bubbling but not browning.
When the oil is ready, slide in a few tomatoes but don’t crowd the pan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, until browned. Remove the slices from the oil and place on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat in batches until all tomatoes have been fried.
When the tomatoes are done, arrange them on a platter or plate and sprinkle a pinch or so of romano cheese in the center of each. Serve with ranch dressing for dipping.
Note: cookbooks always say you can leave fried tomatoes in a 200 F oven while you’re frying up the rest of them, but every time I’ve done that, they have gone soggy. So I just keep things casual and let people, myself included, eat them as I cook them.