How To Make the Best Southern Fried Green Tomatoes

Ripe red tomatoes sandwiched between slices of white bread is the quintessential taste of summer. But if you’re only eating ruby-hued tomatoes, look to the South to find summer’s unsung hero. Stubbornly unripe green tomatoes take a dip in tangy buttermilk, are breaded in cornmeal coating, and then fried until golden in a slick of hot oil. It’s time to try this easy Southern specialty at home.

The Secret to Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes

Wondra, the brand name for instant flour developed in the 1960s, initially appealed to me due to its retro blue canister, but has since proved its usefulness and earned a spot in my pantry. Instant flour is low-protein wheat that is pre-cooked, dried, and finely ground, resulting in flour that easily dissolves — lump-free! — in both hot and cold liquids. The low protein content and fine, even texture gives fried foods a crisp crunch while absorbing less of the frying oil. Here, that also means a coating that won’t slip off the tomatoes.

Learn more: What Is Wondra Flour?

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How to Make Simple Fried Green Tomatoes

Make this classic Southern side in three simple steps: slice, coat, fry.

Remoulade: The Sauce You Won’t Want to Miss

No serving of fried green tomatoes is complete without a dipping sauce, the best of which is a variation of French remoulade sauce — a pale pink sauce consisting of mayonnaise, mustard, lemon, hot sauce, and seasonings. Mississippians developed their own variation, “comeback sauce,” a not-so-subtle nod to the culture of Southern hospitality. Comeback sauce is also a mayonnaise-based sauce, but with a milder, sweeter flavor from ketchup and chili sauce. Spoon some sauce onto the bottom of the serving platter and stack the cornmeal-crusted tomatoes on top.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Ingredients

For the remoulade sauce:

  • 1/2 cup

    mayonnaise, such as Duke’s

  • 2 tablespoons

    freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1

    medium scallion, finely chopped (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon

    finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

  • 1 tablespoon

    whole-grain or Creole mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    hot sauce, such as Louisiana or Tabasco

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • Pinch cayenne pepper

For the tomatoes:

  • 2/3 cup

    instant flour, such as Wondra, divided

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    paprika

  • 3/4 cup

    buttermilk

  • 1

    large egg white

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    hot sauce, such as Louisiana or Tabasco

  • 3/4 cup

    finely ground cornmeal

  • 3

    unripe green tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds total), cut into 1/4-inch thick slices

  • 1/2 cup

    canola oil

Equipment

Measuring cups and spoons

Knife and cutting board

Serrated knife

Whisk

Mixing bowls or shallow dishes

Plastic wrap

Wire cooling rack

10-inch cast iron skillet

Tongs or thin metal spatula

Paper towel

Plate

Rimmed baking sheet

Instructions

  1. Make the remoulade sauce. Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl until combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

  2. Season the flour. Stir 1/3 cup of the flour, salt, and paprika together in a wide, shallow bowl or pie plate.

  3. Make the wet mixture. Whisk the buttermilk, egg white, and hot sauce together in second wide, shallow bowl.

  4. Prepare the cornmeal. Stir the cornmeal and remaining 1/3 cup flour together in a third wide, shallow bowl.

  5. Bread the tomato slices. Fit a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. Dip each tomato slice in the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk mixture, and finally the cornmeal mixture.

  6. Set the cornmeal coating. Place the breaded tomato slices on the rack in a single layer. Let sit so the coating sets while the oil heats.

  7. Heat the oil. Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering, about 5 minutes. The oil should sizzle immediately if you sprinkle flour into it.

  8. Fry the tomatoes. Carefully add 4 to 5 tomato slices and fry until golden-brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transer the fried tomatoes to a paper towel-lined plate. Fry the remaining tomato slices.

  9. Serve warm the remoulade sauce. Serve the tomatoes immediately with the remoulade sauce.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The remoulade sauce can be made up to 2 days in advance. Fried tomatoes are best eaten immediately after frying.

Storage: Refrigerate leftover remoulade sauce in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

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