Sunday, July 22, 2012

Southern Unami

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The culinary world identifies five basic flavors, salty, savory, sweet, sour and unami.  We generally understand the first four but the fifth is a little more difficult to explain....for some folks.  However if you enjoy Southern food, the unami experience begins with a green tomato.

Green Tomatoes1

The drought of 2012 has hit the midwest hard.  Farmers are plowing under dead and dying crops.  Backyard gardens struggle without decent rainfall.  Watering is fine but there are nutrients in rainwater you just can't get from your faucet.  A friend had to pull out some of his tomato plants due to disease to the foliage.  But what to do with the tiny, little green tomatoes?  Don't waste them, email the fried green tomato freak to COME AND GET'EM!!

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Fried green tomatoes are simplicity.  Fill a plastic bag with equal parts flour and cornmeal.  Slice your  tomatoes roughly the same thickness so that they fry evenly.  Place the slices in the plastic bag with your flour/cornmeal mixture and shake so that your slices are evenly coated.  Heat oil in a cast iron skillet.  I use a mixture of bacon grease, canola oil and lard but you can use straight  canola or peanut oil.  Once the oil is hot, carefully add the tomato slices.

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Fry until golden on  both sides and drain on a rack.  Salt and consume immediately.

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I know the French have their fries but give me fried green tomatoes all day long.  It's that flavor explosion of not just salt but the combination of tomato's distinct hot summer flavor on the back of the tongue fried to crunchy tender goodness.

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Meet your hot Southern bar snack.  Bet they'd taste oh so good with an icy cold barley pop.


MakingSpace said...

This is something I've never tried. I'm really sorry to hear about the drought and the lost home garden crops as well.

But fried green tomatoes, as you've prepared them, look like a delicious (and beautiful) way to turn drought into plenty.

the dogs' mother said...

hmmmmm... eyeing some green tomatoes right now...

Big Shamu said...

They were SO good. Well worth firing up the cast iron even in this heat.

Melissa said...

I love fried green tomatoes...okay, I love fried anything!

This heat and drought is starting to take an emotional toll on me, can't imagine if I were a farmer.

And I still don't understand unami...I would think these were savory and salty? and maybe a little sour? To me Unami is like Algebra or the movie Roadhouse.

Dani said...

One of my faves!

Buzz Kill said...

I've never fried green tomatoes, but I've fried red tomatoes a lot. I like your shake and bake preparation. That never occurred to me. I use the old dredge through the egg and bread crumb routine - which is messy. But I always cook up a pound of bacon first, then fry the tomatoes in the grease. That's the only way.

I'm getting a ton of tomatoes from the garden now, so I'm doing this if I can find some time.

Buzz Kill said...

I finally got around to making some fried red tomatoes last night. And I used your 1/2 flour - 1/2 cornmeal mix in the ziplok. I didn't have bacon (sadly) but fried them up in cooking oil. They were very good and very easy to make.

I also had a small eggplant that I prepared the same way. That was just too dry. Thanks for the recipe.