I know it seems insane, but somehow, someway, I’m still growing tomatoes here in Chicago on November 1. Granted, these tomatoes aren’t that luscious red or orange or pink of a summer tomato. Nope, instead these babies are neon green, firm and acidic, almost bitter. These are perfect tomatoes for frying.
Fried green tomatoes were catapulted into fame and became a staple in the South after the movie Fried Green Tomatoes hit theaters in 1992. According to one source (and there really aren’t many), fried green tomatoes originated from either Jewish or Italian immigrants; for example, a recipe for fried green tomatoes appeared in the International Jewish Cookbook in 1919. All in all, it was a movie about the fictional Whistle Stop Café that elevated what was once a home-ec 101 recipe to an instant Southern culinary classic.
Chelsea, you asked for it, and here it is—a delicious and easy recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes. Here’s hoping you have access to a still-flowering tomato plant, too. If not, I’m sure these will be on the menu as soon as those tomatoes start plumping up on their branches next year.
Fried Green Tomatoes with Spicy Garlic Aioli
Serves 2-4, depending on how hungry you are. Simply double or triple this recipe to accommodate a crowd. Leftover aioli is great on sandwiches or as a dipper for other fried foods.
For the tomatoes:
2 green tomatoes, sliced about ¼-in. thick.
Vegetable oil or canola oil, for frying
¼ c. flour
¼ c. cornmeal
¼ c. breadcrumbs
½ tsp. garlic powder
For the Spicy Garlic Aioli dipping sauce:
¼ c. mayo
1 clove of garlic, minced
Splash of hot sauce
Salt & pepper
Salt the tomatoes. Put the tomato slices on a paper towel and sprinkle with kosher salt. Let sit 10-15 minutes. While the tomatoes sit, pour enough oil in a heavy-bottomed sauce or sauté pan to come 1-inch up the side of the pan. Use a thermometer to heat oil to 375˚F.
Set up breading station. While the oil heats, scoop the flour into one bowl and beat the egg in another bowl. In another bowl, mix together cornmeal, breadcrumbs and garlic powder, and season mixture with salt and pepper. Place a wire rack over a sheet tray lined with paper towels next to your frying station so you can easily remove tomatoes from hot oil to cooling rack.
Make dipping sauce. Combine mayo, minced garlic and hot sauce in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt, pepper and add hot sauce as desired. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.
Bread and fry tomatoes. When the oil reaches 375˚F, you are now ready to fry. Dip each tomato slice in the flour, shake off excess, dip in beaten egg, and then dredge it in cornmeal mixture, coating thinly and evenly. Transfer tomato slices to hot oil a few at a time, turning once to ensure an even brown crust. Remove from oil when the tomato is golden brown and delicious and place on the prepared wire rack. Continue until all tomatoes have been fried, making sure the oil maintains a temperature between 365 and 375˚F. Serve immediately with the Spicy Garlic Aioli for dipping.