I don’t fry foods very often. But when local green tomatoes are available, who can resist? They’re something I’ve never used a recipe to make. I just make them the way my Mom did: Slice the tomatoes, season them with salt and pepper, dredge them in cornmeal, and fry them up. When they weren’t crispy and crunchy, I just chalked it up to operator error. Perhaps my oil wasn’t hot enough or the tomatoes were sliced too thick.
But that was before I was editing recipes for our new Paula Deen’s Southern Classics. (It’s on newsstands now or available online.) Paula included a tip in her Fried Green Tomato recipe that explains why she salts the green tomatoes and lets them stand for 30 minutes before coating and frying—something neither my mother nor I had ever done. Paula said the salt pulls the water out of the tomatoes so you don’t end up with soggy breading.
So last night, I used a recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes for the first time ever. I was amazed at how much moisture the salt drew out of the tomatoes. It took a double thickness of paper towels to get them good and dry. And after frying and draining on a wire rack, they were perfectly crispy and crunchy.
If you get Paula Deen’s Southern Classics, you’ll notice we put the recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes in our Appetizer chapter because in the last ten years or so, they show up on restaurant menus more often as starters then anything else. And I must say, serving them as an appetizer with a sweet-hot salsa, remoulade, or horseradish dip is a mighty fine way to kick-start your taste buds. But they can’t be beat when served as a side dish with a mound of coleslaw, fresh purple hull peas, and a wedge of cornbread. What’s your favorite way to enjoy this Southern classic?
Until Next Time,
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