Jessica B. Harris' Southern Fried Green Tomatoes
It might not be the only way to enjoy green tomatoes, but it is the best.
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"Fried green tomatoes are a Southern breakfast staple, often gracing the table alongside sausage, bacon, or country ham. But they can also show up at other times of the day. JoAnn Clevenger, the owner of New Orleans' Upperline Restaurant, created a modern Creole classic by using them as a base for shrimp rémoulade," writes culinary historian Jessica B. Harris. Harris has tweaked her recipe for iconic Southern Fried Green Tomatoes over the years-adding a quick soak in buttermilk to hold the cornmeal dredge-but notes that most versions of the dish contain the same key elements.
The best fried green tomatoes are crispy, lightly coated slices of tangy green tomatoes, fried in vegetable oil or bacon grease. Frying in bacon grease will yield a distinctly meaty, smoky flavor; for the best of both worlds, simply add a bit of bacon grease to your vegetable oil. Make sure your oil is hot before adding slices (they should sizzle when hitting the skillet) to keep the coating crispy and not greasy. The brown paper bag method of dredging the tomatoes is a distinctively (and utterly charming) Southern approach. These fried green tomatoes get a nice, golden crust, and will be ready for any number of sauces, toppings or accompaniments.
"My favorite way of eating them is in a BLT sandwich," writes Harris. "Just pile the fried tomatoes on thinly sliced sourdough bread slathered with mayonnaise or aïoli, and add a few leaves of butter lettuce and some slices of crispy bacon. Voilà!"