FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
With Dipping Sauce
INGREDIENTS – DIPPING SAUCE
2 stalks green onions
⅔ cup Dijon mustard
½ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon white pepper
INGREDIENTS – TOMATOES
4 large or 2 pounds green tomatoes*
½ tablespoon salt (1 teaspoon more later)
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
¾ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
up to 2 cups vegetable oil
* = WARNING. This really is a lot of work if you’re using many tiny green tomatoes. If it takes more than 8 green tomatoes to make 2 pounds, consider cutting the amount of ingredients in half. Certainly, you’ll only get to eat only 1 pound of tomatoes this way, while people living in the land of big tomatoes get 2 pounds. However, you won’t be muttering to yourself and looking in the garage for an axe. Alternatively, move to the land of the big tomatoes. Oh, and leave your axe behind.
3 mixing bowls
Serves 8. Takes 1 hour 20 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes depending on the size of the tomatoes. Bigger tomatoes take less time. They really do.
PREPARATION – DIPPING SAUCE
Mince green onions. Add dipping sauce ingredients to mixing bowl. Mix with fork until well blended. Cover and chill until tomatoes are deep fried.
PREPARATION – TOMATOES
Cut tomatoes into ¼” slices. Pat tomato slices dry with paper towel. Put slices on wire racks over plates. Sprinkle slices evenly with ½ tablespoon salt. Let sit for 30 minutes to draw out water.
While tomato slices sit, add cornmeal, flour, pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt to large, second mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Divide this cornmeal/flour mixture onto 3 plates. (This will keep the cornmeal/from clumping up from the moisture of buttermilk laden tomato slice.) Add buttermilk to third mixing bowl. Dip tomatoes slices in buttermilk. Dredge buttermilk-covered slices one at time through cornmeal/flour mixture until they are well coated.
Set skillet to 375 degrees. Add enough oil to coat tomato slices to skillet. Oil will be hot enough when a tiny bit of flour added to skillet will dance in the oil. Add as many tomato slices as possible to skillet without them touching each other. Fry 3 minutes on each side or until they turn golden brown. (Cooking time tends to go down a little with each successive batch.) Additional batches might be necessary. Drain on paper towels. Serve with dipping sauce.
1) Tomatoes can be cut with a regular knife. But not with any uniformity. Sure, you’ll get the occasional .25″ thick slice, but more often than not you’ll get slices with widths of .28″ or even .35″. However if your neighbors know that your make half-inch wide slices, you will be shunned.
2) In cases like these, it’s best to bolt all the doors and pull down all the shades until you have gotten rid of your deformed tomato slabs. Thieves know that houses with drawn shades and bolted doors mean that desperate knife-wielding, tomato-disposing folks are at a home and leave them at home. So when you leave the homestead, bolt your doors and draw their shades. Thieves won’t know if you’ve stepped out or are destroying culinary crimes. They won’t take the chance.
3) So don’t slice tomatoes with a knife. Then with what? A mandoline. This kitchen device makes uniform tomato slices. Now you can raise your shades and go out into your anal retentive, tomato-loving neighborhood. Be accepted, even.
4) How did the mandoline get started? Renaissance mandolin players loved sliced tomatoes. But the knives way back were even less precise than the ones we use today. Thick-tomato-slice shame ran rampant. Frustrated mandoliners took to smashing their tomatoes with their mandolins. This is how pasta sauce got invented. This is how spaghetti with marinara sauce came about. This is how Italy became the culinary capital in the world.
5) Folk music became popular in America during the 19th century. Folk guitarists took over the role of pasta-sauce makers. However, wooden acoustic guitars were amazing fragile. Just a few tomato smashings would break them. So, the pasta-sauce industry invented the sturdy electric guitar. Those things could smash tomatoes forever.
6) In 1968, a word-changing event occurred. The band Iron Butterfly released the song “In a Gadda Da Vida.” It was great. It was immensely popular. Rock bands started earning big bucks playing music of all things.
7) Rich electric guitarists gave up making pasta sauce. Italian restaurants all over the world were in danger on closing. But they didn’t, Mandy Linne, lead singer for Beefsteak had a drug-induced vision. “Why not insert a blade into a fixed surface, couple that with an adjustable upper surface, slide the tomato along the adjustable surface until it meets the blade resulting in uniform slices?” Mandy L. passed out. Her idea did not. We are living in a golden age of uniformly sliced tomatoes.
– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef
My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.