Classic Fried Green Tomatoes are one of summers true delights. Along with their ripe red counterparts, fried green tomatoes are a true dream when summer hits. You can buy them green at the grocery store for the very purpose of frying them. Or you can pick some green ones off the vine in your own garden, like I do. It’s worth sacrificing a few for a meal every once in a while.
Classic Fried Green Tomatoes are known for being a quintessentially Southern dish, but they are actually not originated in the South at all. I assumed it was a way for farmers to eat all of their crops or have a vegetable side when the tomatoes weren’t quite ripe yet, but fried green tomatoes don’t really show up in the South until after the hit movie came out in the early 90’s titled Fried Green Tomatoes. According to an article called The Surprising Origins of Fried Green Tomatoes on SmithsonianMag.com by Lisa Bramen, Fried Green Tomatoes show up in cookbooks from the Northeast and Midwest primarily from Jewish immigrants. Isn’t that so interesting? Who would have thought.
These days Fried Green Tomatoes are primarily served and offered in the South and thought to be a Southern dish. We, as Southerners, have whole heartedly accepted them into our kitchens and serve them gladly during the summer months. It makes me laugh to think they aren’t actually Southern.
Why fry green ones you ask? Well they hold up better to the hot oil. When you fry a red one, or partially red tomato, it just falls apart and becomes mush. The green tomatoes hold up very well tp not only the oil, but also the breading process.
Now here is where Southerners have probably left their mark on the Classic Fried Green Tomato, by adding cornmeal to the flour mix and treating these a lot like fried okra (another Southern favorite). I like my Fried Green Tomatoes with a little cornmeal mixed into the mixture. My recipe for these beauties reflects this. Make sure to use FINE ground cornmeal. It provides a great crunch without having hard granules in it like medium ground cornmeal. If you don’t have buttermilk to mix in with your eggs, just use regular milk.
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- 4 green tomatoes, sliced thick
- 1/2 C peanut oil (you can use canola oil as well)
- 1/2 C all purpose flour
- 1/2 C FINE ground yellow cornmeal
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 C buttermilk (or regular milk)
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- Place your sliced tomatoes on a plate or cutting board and sprinkle them with kosher salt and black pepper.
- Put the oil into a 10 inch skillet, I prefer using cast iron. Heat the oil over medium heat for about five minutes or so, until it is glistening and shimmering.
- In a large bowl mix the flour and cornmeal together. In another large bowl, mix the buttermilk and eggs whisking them together.
- Dip the tomato slices into the egg mixture, then into the flour mixture. Making sure to coat each side very well. Drop the tomato into the hot oil and ry for about 2 minutes per side, until very nicely browned. I cook about 6 tomato slices at a time.
- Remove the tomatoes to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle immediately with salt.
- Repeat these steps with the remaining tomato slices.