When I was young, my family and I moved. Now, it was only one state away from where I had been born but I might as well have been removed to Mars! There were many changes for me since I felt as if I had been ripped from the security of my big extended family and all the things that made me feel ‘at home’. I had to make new friends, not an easy task for me at that particular time in my life. I had to get used to a different landscape, from wide open farmlands to tree-covered hills that seemed to fall in on me, smothering me. People had less of a drawl. Attitudes about things were different. They used different words than I grew up using… I hated it all.
But my parents made friends with the neighbors and soon we were being invited over for dinners. And, my goodness, these ladies could cook! It wasn’t long before some of their favorite dishes were showing up on our dinner table. Fried green tomatoes was one of those dishes. I was a picky eater and I had turned my nose up at first, thinking how ridiculous it was to fry a green tomato. I couldn’t imagine how horribly tasteless it would be. In my child-mind, I had all the answers. But I was cajoled into putting a piece – a very small piece – into my mouth.
I was amazed. How could I have not recognized the brilliance of this! Plopping an unripe vegetable into hot fat! They were wonderful. And I couldn’t get enough. Over the years, I learned a lot from those friends of my parents. Their favorite recipes were not the least of those things. I hope you enjoy my rendition of Fried Green Tomatoes.
Fried Green Tomatoes
- 4 large firm green tomatoes
- 1 c buttermilk
- 1/4 c flour
- 1/4 c cornmeal
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 strips bacon More if you like
- Slice green tomatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices and submerge in the buttermilk. Set aside and let marinate for up to two hours.
- In a large skillet, fry the bacon to the crispy stage. Drain on paper towels. Reserve the bacon grease in the skillet for frying. Add oil, if necessary, to make a depth of 1/2 inch.
- Mix the dry ingredients in a shallow dish.
- Slice by slice, remove the tomatoes from the buttermilk and dredge, still wet, through the flour/cornmeal mix. Coat well on both sides and carefully place into the hot grease.
- Fry on both sides until tender and brown. Drain on paper towels.
- Serve on a large platter. Top each slice with a piece of bacon, or crumble bacon bits over all. Serve warm.
- A wonderful variation of this is to top each slice of tomato with a boiled or grilled shrimp, instead of bacon, and drizzle with a creole remoulade sauce. Yummy!
- I have even been known to make a BLT with fried green tomatoes. The possibilities are endless!