Sweet Home Alabama…

Alabama: Fried Green Tomatoes

Thanks to Fannie Flagg’s endearing novel—and subsequent film—fried green tomatoes have been inextricably linked with Alabama. And rightfully so. The state’s agrarian ways produce a bounty of tomatoes—the shining star of an Alabama summer. The beauty of the dish lies in its simplicity: firm, green (unripe) tomatoes, a crispy cornmeal jacket, and a lovingly tended skillet of hot oil.

When choosing green tomatoes, pick ones that are firm but not rock hard. You want them to give a little when squeezed gently. Even if they’re starting to turn a little yellow, they’ll be just fine. Sometimes I even prefer them to have a little yellowness for a milder flavor.

The other thing I like to do is salt my green tomato slices before I fry them. This works to pull out a little extra moisture, resulting in a crispier coating and one that doesn’t get as soggy as quickly once they’re out of the hot oil.

It’s also super important to have your oil at the right temperature. If it’s not hot enough, it’ll result in oily/greasy tomatoes. Oil that’s too hot will obviously burn and could taste bitter. Either way, a fry thermometer or even an infrared thermometer is your best friend here.

Classic Fried Green Tomatoes with Remoulade

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

For the remoulade:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Creole or spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning

For the fried green tomatoes:

  • 3 large green tomatoes
  • salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • vegetable oil for frying

Instructions:

For the remoulade:

  1. In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, ketchup, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, horseradish and Creole seasoning. Stir well to combine. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.

For the fried green tomatoes:

  1. Thinly slice the tomatoes and lightly salt each side. Place in a colander in the sink and allow the salt to draw some of the moisture out for about 10 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk the egg and buttermilk together. In another shallow bowl combine the cornmeal, flour, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour about 1 inch of oil into the bottom of a deep skillet or Dutch oven. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until the oil reaches about 350°.
  3. Blot the tomatoes with paper towels to remove the excess moisture. Dip the tomatoes in the egg wash and then dredge them in the cornmeal mixture, pressing lightly to coat them. Fry in the hot oil for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve with the sauce.
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