I have green tomatoes. And I'm proud of them.

I ran into a friend at the farmer's market the other day who informed me which booth was the best one from which to buy tomatoes. Apparently he'd stolen a sample from every booth that morning and had determined where the winner was.

Sadly, I'm in the market for tomatoes, because mine will not ripen. This is, I believe, mostly my fault. A) I planted them late. B) I insisted on putting my garden in an area that is really too shady for tomatoes. Problem is, last year I had a bumper crop. My shady garden spot was fine last year. This year, with the cool weather and the rain and did I mention the fabulously cool weather? the tomatoes in my beautiful new raised beds are sort of confused about what they're supposed to do.

I have been reassured by the gardening guru at my place of employment that my tomatoes will eventually ripen and be the head turners they were intended to be. Until then, I'm begging fresh ones off of anyone who has a garden that produced more than two. I'm also making due with my green ones. The green tomato is, of course, perfect for frying. You can go about this several ways. You can do a simple herb/egg wash/bread crumb process, and fry away. Panko is your friend. You can make a batter. You can use cornmeal. You can do all of the above.

My favorite way is to really load em up.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Loosely, the list (really, you can toss whatever you like in here) is: 2 largeish, firm green tomatoes, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
1 C cornmeal or panko bread crumbs
1 C buttermilk
4 T flour
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp seasoned salt
black pepper to taste
1/2 C vegetable or peanut oil, or, if you really love to throw caution to the wind, shortening.

Step 1) Heat the oil or crisco in your CAST IRON SKILLET, almost to the smoking point. Really, if you have one it is certainly best for this application.

Step 2) Make up your assembly line. Start by combining the buttermilk, flour, and spices in one dish and stirring it up. Use the panko or cornmeal in another bowl.

Step 3) Dredge your tomato slices first in the buttermilk mixture and then in the cornmeal or panko.

Step 4) Fry them until they're nice and brown, about 2 minutes on each side.

Another use for green tomatoes—one of my favorites—is to make a...

Green Tomato Salsa

3 green tomatoes, chopped fine
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 T fresh lime juice
1/4 C chopped red onion or green onion
1 tsp kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 T olive oil

This is better on day two, best on day four. I love to serve this atop some fish or with a rice and bean bowl - the freshness is really what makes my heart go pitty pat.

I suppose there are those of you out there who have actual ripened tomatoes. Well, goody for you. You might think about walking away from the BLT for a minute. Step away from the cottage cheese. There are more tomato recipes in the sea.

For example, did you forget about bruschetta? Eat it for an appetizer, eat it for a meal, skip the bread and eat the topping with a spoon.

Basic, beautiful, fresh bruschetta

4-5 garden fresh tomatoes
1 onion - I prefer red
fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C red wine vinegar (balsamic is also good)
salt to taste
pepper to taste (I like to use white in this)
1 baguette, sliced in thick slices
olive oil for brushing
freshly grated parmesan cheese

1) Seed the tomatoes and then chop into a small dice. Chop onion, mince the garlic, and chiffonade the basil.

2) Combine the basil, garlic, onion, and tomato with the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Cover, and chill.

3) Brush the baguette on both sides with olive oil, and grill them or toast under broiler until brown. Remember that brown = flavor, so don't be afraid to get a nice nutty color on them.

4) Top each baguette slice with the tomato mixture and sprinkle with the fresh parmesan.

And, really, if you have any nice red beauties just sitting around that you don't need, you can just leave them on my doorstep. I'll be inside lying down, watching 16 and pregnant and weeping. Because I don't have any tomatoes. And my hormones are out of control.


bloozman 13 years ago

Is there a substitute for buttermilk for the FGTs? I mean, like 2%?

Megan Green Stuke 13 years ago

Bloozman- oh sure. Or, an egg or eggwhite...

Shelby 13 years ago

Saw this old mofo on public television last year who stuffed green tomatoes with goat cheese and whatnot and baked 'em. I made 'em last night. Verdict: wicked.


Aufbrezeln Eschaton 13 years ago

Make your own damn buttermilk. Use 1TBLSP white vinegar or lemon juice per cup of milk, stir really well, and let sit for a minute or two. Works great as a substitution where the need for buttermilk is more consistency than taste, although it gets the acidity through just fine, as well.

momgreenreno 13 years ago

OH--AHhhh--I love fried green tomatoes and haven't had them in years. Your grandmother made them the best! She dipped them in a thin pancake batter. (Yep--right from the Bisquick box). She also did egg plant and okra the same way. Yummy. My cowboy husband wants no part of any of the above.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 13 years ago

I love fried green tomatoes, as well, but they have to have the flaky floury batter crust, not the crunchy cornmeal one. Although there's a few fast-food restaurants in Oklahoma that serve the latter, and they're still a hell of a lot better than french fries.

My husband has a recipe for fried eggplant out of an Indian cookbook, and done right, they taste like fried green tomatoes. Freaking yum.

funkdog1 13 years ago

I mix up plain old store-bought pancake mix and water until it's thick, stir in salt, pepper and garlic powder, coat my green tomato slices in that and then fry them up in olive oil.


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