Is there any food more Southern than fried green tomatoes? I still have mental images of Jessica Tandy gratefully accepting the fried green tomatoes brought to her in the nursing home in the movie by the same name. But here's my big question of the day: Why are all the good Southern dishes either fried or full of sugar? Could that explain why Southerners have such a high rate of heart disease? Come to think of it, maybe that explains the rampant obesity and diabetes, too, which are also linked to heart disease. Okay, so here's the million dollar question: If I'm so darn smart, why did I make these at all? Well, for one thing, maybe I've been living in the South too long (15 years). Or maybe it was this recipe that I clipped from the last Southern Living Magazine, sent in by Carolyne Fisher Wilbanks, Lake Toxaway, NC. It just looked too good to ignore. One of our local roadside stands has green tomatoes. Actually, all of their tomatoes start out as green tomatoes and ripen as they age. So I bought some of their green tomatoes, and in just a few days time they were quickly turning red, calling for quick action on my part. As you can see from the top photo, they actually look almost all red. But they were still quite firm, so I figured it would be okay. And it was. All I can say is, it's a good thing I wasn't born in the South. I'd probably weigh 300 lbs. by now. These fried tomatoes are so good, I could easily become addicted. And Carolyne's recipe is fast, easy and delicious, producing a nice crispy coating on the outside, with a tender, juicy tomato inside. And -- talking about questions -- I'm still wondering how a very firm, almost hard, tomato (which looked pretty juiceless when I sliced it) became a delicious, crispy morsel of juiciness after it was fried. But then, it's probably best not to deliberate on it too much. Thankfully, green tomatoes are not available year-round. Try some while you can, but please don't have them every night. Fried stuff will kill you. No kidding.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Rating: 10 out of 10
4 large green tomatoes
1-1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup self-rising cornmeal
3 cups vegetable oil
Salt to taste
1. Cut tomatoes into 1/4-to 1/3"-thick slices; place in a shallow dish. Pour buttermilk over tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Combine flour and cornmeal in a shallow dish or pieplate. Dredge tomato slices in flour mixture.
3. Fry tomatoes, in batches, in hot oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Yield: 6-8 servings
Note: I used one tomato, 1/3 cup buttermilk, 2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1/4 cup bread flour, 1/4 cup SR cornmeal, 2/3 cup oil, and I got 2-3 servings.