I have not been blessed with children. Unless you count the four legged furry ones and frankly their palates are rather undefined. So my dish this week comes straight from the heart of my own tender childhood. That uniquely Southern summer treat, Fried Green Tomatoes. Yes, this is one of those dishes that makes all the work in your backyard garden worth it.
Now I can hear you from here, that's not a green tomato. Technically, no, it's not. Still it's not a fully ripe one either. I've fried green tomatoes and I just don't like how they taste. A really firm green tomato just hasn't developed that uniquely tomato tang. I want the umami of an almost ripe tomato with the firmness of a still greenish tomato. Southern sacrilege? Perhaps but since it's my plate of goodness I'm trying to achieve why not let me worry about the tomato.The next thing you'll need (on this point I will not betray my Southern roots) is a well seasoned, bequeathed in the will to the envious consternation of your siblings, honest to goodness cast iron skillet. We're talking old enough to have fried your great great granddaddy's chicken in back in the day. People, if you want to get your Southern Culinary Freak on, this is what you need. Keeps your oil at a nice even temperature. To fry my tomatoes I use peanut oil because of the high smoke point. However. I drop in a couple of generous tablespoons from my ever present cache of bacon grease to mix with my peanut oil. Set the heat to high. Your tomato slices should be cut thin and even. They will fry much better with nice even slices.
Flour, cornmeal and salt are the only coating I need for my slices. Lots of other recipes call for either a buttermilk or egg wash but I think that's crazy. Tomatoes are already moist so any coating you put on is going to stick. Just like with my onion rings, I don't want to overly bread my tomatoes. Fry quickly at high heat, flipping once. Watch closely, burned tomatoes are not something many people enjoy.
This is something many people enjoy. Golden crispy coating on the outside, tangy juiciness on the inside with just a hint of bacon. Makes your tongue dance with savory flavors. The only other thing you might need is a big ole glass of icy cold sweet ice tea. Sometimes simple things are the best. At least that's what this kid believes.