My backyard vegetable garden is overflowing with goodness these days. After utter neglect of my lettuce and swiss chard garden resulted in having to rip everything out as it all bolted and went to seed, I am so happy that the second bed is thriving! Apparently neglect is good for tomato, beet, and bean plants! Note to self: plant only hardy, neglect tolerant plants for the foreseeable future.
I spent a few hours yesterday harvesting an unreal amount of green beans from my four plants. I vacuum packed and froze about 15 packages and still had so many left over I gave bags of beans to 4 friends! The beets are next on the freezer hit list. The tomatoes are not yet ripe, but are growing like crazy. I chose this year to plant a regular old beefsteak tomato and I am so glad I did. Other years I have tried small (cherry/grape) and heirloom varieties. None of them ever did very well (read: neglected). I am terrible at remembering to water so I was always dealing with splits, bugs, and rot. It was gross. But the ones I planted this year are thriving! In fact, I have so many that I decided to pull some off now for a batch of fried green tomatoes.
This is one of those recipes that gets made, at most, once a year. You have to time it perfectly for when your tomatoes are large enough, but still green and hard. You do not want any hint of colour on or in them at all. Here are some examples of what you want it to look like. The top photo is a perfect green tomato. The bottom shows slight colour on the inside which is not ideal for this recipe. While the tomatoes with slight colour do not taste bad, they just won’t have the best flavour or consistency. The green ones end up having a firm texture and slight citrus flavour. Trust me, these are addictive.
Fried Green Tomatoes
(makes 6-8 slices)
⅓ cup light mayonnaise
Juice of half a lemon
¼ tsp hot sauce
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
½ cup cornmeal
1½ tsp seafood seasoning
2 medium green tomatoes (cut crosswise into 3 or 4 slices, discarding both ends)
½ cup vegetable oil
Combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice and hot sauce in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Place the flour, cornmeal, and eggs each in their own separate bowl. Add ½ tsp of the seafood seasoning to each and mix to combine.
Prepare a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. While oil is heating, dredge half the slices with the flour, then egg, then cornmeal.
When oil is heated, fry the dredged tomato slices until they are golden brown (approx. 3 minutes per side). When finished, place on the paper towel lined baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt. Repeat with the rest of the slices.
Serve immediately with the sauce.
Source: Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart Living Everyday Food Magazine