Fried green tomatoes Friday, October 13, 2006So not only is it the title of a movie, but is actually a delicious food. To be completely honest I never really understood why people were so enamored of fried green tomatoes, of course I'd never had one. But in past years I've become such a fan that I crave them, and unfortunately unless I'm willing to grow my own tomato plants indoors during the winter the window for these delicious babies is so small.
I just have happened to be very lucky this year with scoring them at the farmer's market, because unless you grow your own they are just not to be had. Kroger's for sure doesn't sell them, which is a sad, sad thing in my world (even though I prefer the local farm grown ones). I failed to plant a real garden this year for a variety of reasons, but by summer next year I'm hoping that I will be firmly settled into a place that will have ample room to allow me to plant a garden.
I think my own fiendish need for them comes directly from my father, it has to be genetic just like the color of my hair and the fact that our feet look exactly the same. It's true, my feet are creepy little clones of my father's, both of us must have socks pulled very tight so that our toes are nearly curled under. No lose socks for us! The very thought of them makes me shiver and is the reason I wear children's socks because otherwise I look like an asshole with the heal of my sock pulled halfway up my calf.
But I digress. My father isn't much of a cook, he believes that most foods can be cooked on broil in the oven, but what he does cook is simply fantastic. He makes the most wonderful omelets and scrambled eggs in addition to his amazing fried green tomatoes. His recipe is so breathtakingly simple I hate to fiddle with it but I did, just a wee bit. But it is still his recipe that I use, even though I've experimented with others. I'm not entirely sure that part of it isn't out of pure nostalgia but really sometimes the simplest recipes really are the best. There is a marked lack of fussiness in sitting down with an entire plate of fried green tomatoes in front of the television and enjoying their crispy outer shells and soft green centers.
Dad's Fried Green Tomatoes
1.5 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of onion powder
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
3 medium sized green tomatoes
First turn on your deep fryer to 375 degrees. I've found that deep frying is really the best way to do this, but if you don't have one or would rather pan fry them you can. But I think that they get so much more evenly crispy in the deep fryer, plus I've found it much easier to clean up. Often I've found that pan frying will cause some of the breading to fall off and burn, making for a smoky kitchen.
Slice your green tomatoes into 1/4" thick slices. I know this is quite thin but I've found I prefer them thinner, if you wish for them to be thicker by all means feel free. But too thick might cause the crispy outer shell to become overly browned before the inside reaches it cooked perfection.
In one plate scramble both the eggs, in another mix the flour, onion powder, garlic powder and a bit of salt (about 1 teaspoon). This is where I deviate from my father's recipe, he simply dredges the tomatoes in the seasoned flour and fries them. I prefer to dip them in the egg and then into the flour mixture to give me a thicker coating. Not a large difference in the recipe but I've found that I like a bit more crispiness on the outside of my tomatoes than he does.
In a single layer I place them to dry a bit on a wire rack before plopping them into the oil. It may not look like they are really drying, in fact they might look a bit wetter than when you first placed them on the rack. Don't panic, they will be just fine. Once the oil has come up to temperature, start dropping them into the hot oil. Take care not to overcrowd the pan, this will cause the temperature of the oil to drop and you will end up greasy little discs of tomato rather than crispy ones. I've got quite a large fryer so I can fit about 8 slices of tomato in it at a time without losing heat. A bit of trial and error may be necessary on your part in order to find out how many you can fit in your fryer without a loss of heat.
Let them crisp up on one side and them gently turn them over to crisp up on the other. Occasionally I get fiddly with them and turn them several times. Once they have reached a darker golden color you can remove them from the oil. Place them on a wire rack over a set of paper towels to drip dry, while they are still hot lightly salt. Don't go overboard because you've already salted the flour they just simply need a bit more to be perfect. It is at this point I must stress that you use a wire rack to dry them on, setting them directly on paper towels will wick away oil but it will also make the undersides soggy. If you are concerned about extra oil you can lightly tap the top of each tomato slice with a paper towel.
I usually will make an entire meal of this one recipe, I'm a bit greedy though so you might be able to serve several if you have other dishes. I've had them served to me in all manners, in a sandwich, on a salad, in a pita, etc. But really there is no better way to eat them but straight up with no other adornments, because they really don't need them.