Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes with Spicy Buttermilk Sauce

What do you do when all of your dinner plans are shot to hell in the space of a few minutes?  If you're Alex and I, you tend to make very random vegetable dishes.  I am a crazy farmers' market shopper all summer long so we always end up with random produce around the house to use.  I had purchased these green tomatoes with the idea that I would make some sort of chutney with them.  I also found a recipe for a frittata with green tomatoes and a green tomato pie - both of which I thought sounded really interesting.  But when it came down to it, we couldn't resist another batch of fried green tomatoes.  I was planning on just making the same Fried Green Tomatoes with Buttermilk-Lime Dressing, only I wanted to make some sort of spicy buttermilk dressing instead of the buttermilk-lime dressing.  But Alex found a recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes with Spicy Buttermilk Sauce on a blog called Authentic Suburban Gourmet so we decided to try that instead.  While I enjoyed this version, in the future, I will probably go back to our original recipe.  I liked the coating/breading better in the original version.  I preferred the texture of the cornmeal and flour crust to the polenta and panko crust here.  I really thought that the other crust adhered to the tomatoes better, but this crust was a little sandy/crunchy for me.  And the polenta tasted a little raw to me.  I also liked the Buttermilk-Lime Dressing from the original recipe better than this Spicy Buttermilk Sauce.  Part of the problem for me with this sauce was that I am not a particularly big fan of mayonnaise.  This dressing was a little too distinctly mayonnaisey for me, although I didn't find the taste objectionable when combined with the richness and tartness of the tomatoes.  When I tasted the dressing on its own prior to frying the tomatoes I think I made what Alex calls "stink face."  I just don't like mayonnaise.  I can't help it.  Beyond the mayonnaise, I really loved the flavors of the basil and the lime in the other dressing.  It was just so bright and refreshing.  As far as he can remember, Alex liked both recipes equally.  That's not surprising since he actually likes the taste of mayonnaise.  This was still a really good recipe (and I am glad we tried it), but I just liked the other recipe a touch better. 
Recipe after the jump!

Fried Green Tomatoes with Spicy Buttermilk Sauce

3 large Green tomatoes
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup polenta
1/2 cup panko
2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
vegetable or canola oil for frying
Spicy Buttermilk Sauce (see below)

Slice the tomatoes into 1/2-inch slices. Set aside. Set up a breading station. In the first bowl combine eggs and buttermilk. In the dish, add the flour. In the third dish, add the polenta, panko, salt, pepper and garlic powder and mix.

Dip each tomato slice into the flour mixture, then the egg, and then the panko breadcrumb mixture.  Be sure to shake off excess flour and egg before proceeding onto the next step. Coat both sides of the pork in panko mixture, patting to make sure panko adheres if necessary.  Set aside and repeat with remaining pork.

In a large skillet, add about 1/4 to 1/2-inch of canola oil. Heat skillet over medium. Once the oil is hot, place tomatoes into the frying pan in batches of 4 or 5, depending on the size of your skillet. Be careful to not crowd the tomatoes. After the tomatoes are browned, flip and fry them on the other side, about 2-3 minutes per side. Drain them on paper towels. Immediately sprinkle salt on each one.  Repeat with remaining tomatoes.

Serve hot with Spicy Buttermilk Sauce.

Spicy Buttermilk Sauce

1/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (add more if you like it spicy)
1 tsp lemon juice
4 scallions, white and green parts, sliced thinly on the bias

Add all of the above ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Either serve on top of the fried green tomatoes or serve on the side.

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