If it hadn’t been for fried foods, I would have starved as a kid. Burgers, chicken, pork chops, liver, carrots (yes, carrots…), calves’ brains...my mom loved frying food. I don’t fry as much as she did, but it is still one of my favorite ways to cook.
To fry, you must have the right tools. I have two types of pans I use constantly. The first is a cast iron skillet. I have four different ones, including my mother’s 10” and a 12” that I bought for myself several years ago. The second is a good Teflon-coated skillet. I have an 8”and a 12”.
Cast iron is good for frying meats, green tomatoes or just about anything that needs to keep a constant temperature. The Teflon pans are for my eggs, pancakes and French toast.
When I saw the theme for this month’s IMBB, I immediately thought of two items: pan fried pork chops, and green tomatoes. My pork chops are fairly basic: nice rib chops, sprinkled with seasoned salt (the all purpose red-neck seasoning) and pepper and seared off at medium high heat until slightly pink on the inside. No grey pork. It is a sin to overcook fine chops and there is a special hell for those that do. It is right next to the one for people who drive while talking on their cell phones.
So after a struggle with my taste buds, I decided to wax poetic about fried green tomatoes. It IS summer after all. Plus, people are talking about the Eat Local Challenge, and walking out my back door is about as local as you can get.
I didn’t like green tomatoes as a kid. A little too tart for a young palate, but once I got older, I learned to appreciate this uncomplicated dish. I usually make a big batch at the end of the summer, when you have to pull the last of the unripe tomatoes off the vine before clearing the garden. Also, it is definitely a frugal dish. I like that. And it makes people get all misty-eyed when you serve them on the side of some good barbeque pork.
So without further ado…
You’ve seen the movie…
You’ve read the book…
Now experience…FRIED GREEN TOMATOES!
(No lesbians or long pig in this recipe though…)
Fried Green Tomatoes Rosie style
3 to 4 medium sized unripe tomatoes
1 cup corn meal
Vegetable oil for frying
Core and slice tomatoes into ¼” slices with a sharp serrated knife. Set aside.
Mix corn meal with the spices. This is strictly to taste. I usually go a little heavy on the salt, and add just enough red pepper to make the taste buds sit up and take notice, but not enough where you get a burn. Mix thoroughly.
Dredge the slices in the cornmeal. A very thin layer of seasoned meal should cling to the moist areas. This is what you want.
Heat your oil in a cast iron skillet on medium high. The tomatoes should sizzle when they hit the oil. Cook until brown on one side then flip and brown on the other. Do not keep flipping them back and forth. This is how the meal falls off.
When the tomato is soft and yields to fork pressure, it’s done. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Or if you wanna be fancy, drain on a rack over paper towels.
Eat while warm. Of course, the cook may need to sample the first couple slices to make sure all the seasoning is correct. You know how that is.