Friday, July 22, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes with Buttermilk-Lime Dressing

Strangely enough both Alex and I went to school in the South (although I maintain and Alex agrees that Chapel Hill was more Southern than Atlanta) and neither of us had ever tried fried green tomatoes.  Whenever I hear someone talk about fried green tomatoes my first thought is about the movie Fried Green Tomatoes from the early 90's and the Whistle Stop Cafe.  But from now on I might just think of the food first.  Because these bad boys were seriously good.  Alex described them as "surprisingly flavorful and filling."  I wasn't surprised by how flavorful they were.  I was actually dancing around the kitchen in excitement while we were prepping the tomatoes.  I was expecting (or at least hoping) that they would be totally delicious.  And they were.  I will however agree with Alex that the tomatoes were surprisingly filling.  I thought that we would finish the tomatoes and the Radish Butter and still be starving.  But I was pretty full and totally satisfied.  I originally wanted to make a remoulade to serve with the tomatoes, but I'm glad we went with the Buttermilk-Lime Dressing.  The tartness and freshness of the dressing really complimented the tomatoes.  And even though the tomatoes were fried, they didn't seem heavy at all.  I think a lot of that was due to the lightness of the dressing.  The remoulade would have made the dish seem a lot heavier.

Don't my Fried Green Tomatoes look purdy?  As pretty as they look, I promise they tasted better.  I would be a happy girl if only green tomatoes were available in NYC year round.

Recipes after the jump!

Fried Green Tomatoes

3 medium to large green tomatoes
kosher salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
peanut oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup stone-ground cornmeal
2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Buttermilk-Lime Dressing (see below)

Slice tomatoes 1/4-inch think with a serrated knife, discarding the two ends.  Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and set aside.  Whisk eggs and buttermilk together in a broad, shallow bowl.

Pour enough peanut oil into a large cast iron pan to a depth of 1/3-inch.  Heat over medium-high.

Combine flour, cornmeal, s&p in a pie dish or small, shallow baking dish.  Press tomates into the breading mixture, shaking off any excess.  Dunk tomatoes in the egg mixture, shaking off any excess.  Then return tomatoes to breading mixture.  Shake off any excess and place the breaded tomatoes on a clean plate.  Repeat with remaining tomatoes.

Carefully transfer breaded tomatoes to the hot pan with a spatula.  Do not overcrowd the pan - we had to cook our tomatoes in two batches.  Once the tomatoes turn a rich golden-brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes, carefully flip them over with the spatula.  Cook until rich golden-brown on the other side, about another 2 minutes.  Transfer fried tomatoes to a plate lined with two paper towels.  Let tomatoes drain on both sides on the paper towels for about a minute.  Repeat with remaining tomatoes.

Serve hot with Buttermilk-Lime Dressing.

Buttermilk-Lime Dressing
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook
By Matt Lee and Ted Lee

3/4 cup whole or lowfat buttermilk (preferably whole, but we used lowfat)
5 tbsp freshly-squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp evoo
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely minced
1/4 cup scallions, finely minced
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste

In a small bowl, whisk the ingredients together until thoroughly combined.  Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator not more than 2 days.

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