Not many things compare to a homegrown ruby red tomato at the end of summer. Although, I think fried green tomatoes might be a close second. I could make a meal out of them! Scroll down to find out how to make fried green tomatoes fast and easy, but first… what kind of green tomatoes make the best fried green tomatoes?
What are the best tomatoes for frying?
It used to be when you’d go grocery shopping or plant tomatoes there were only a few varieties to pick from… all of them red. Nowadays with the resurgence of heirlooms, we have green, black, stripes, orange and yellow. So which ones are best for making your fried green tomatoes?
At first guess, one might go for the tomato that stays green once it’s fully ripened. That would be a poor choice. You want to pick any large unripened tomato. If you have your own tomato plant, awesome!
Pick a load of them before you have too many on your hands or the bugs get them. They should be very firm and fairly dry when you cut into them. If you’re not growing your own, most superstores have plenty of hard, pale, and fairly unripe ones. These are excellent for frying.
Foolproof Triple Coated Fried Green Tomatoes
My grandparents were from Norcross, GA and always had fresh sliced tomatoes on the dinner table. As a kid, I didn’t like them because the high acidity burned my tongue. But on a rare occasion Maw-maw would fry up a batch of unripened green ones, I was in heaven!
She always used cornmeal and her big black cast iron skillet. I find that cornmeal comes off easily and ends up burning in the pan when I’m doing a lot of them. That’s why I recommend using crushed Ritz crackers. Plus, if you give them a triple coat that will insure you’ve got a crispy golden crust every time.
How to Make Fried Green Tomatoes
Set up your dipping station: 1 bowl of flour, 1 bowl egg bath (2 eggs plus 2 tablespoons water, beaten) & 1 bowl of crushed Ritz crackers with 1 tablespoon Italian dried herbs.
Coat #1: After lightly salting the tomato slices (this seasons them & helps draw out any excess water), dredge them through flour.
Coat #2: Dip them in an egg bath. This binds the crumbs to the tomato.
Coat #3: Gently press the slices in a mixture of Ritz cracker crumbs and dried Italian herbs.
Why not fry a ripe tomato?
Even though they have wonderful flavor, fully ripen tomatoes are juicy and fall apart easily. If you try to fry them, they will be soft and seedy and spit oil everywhere! You will have a huge mess on your hands. Using a young unripened tomato holds its shape, the heat softens it and brings out its full flavor.
What to Serve with Fried Green Tomatoes
Really treat yourself and whip up some garlic aioli (aka homemade mayo) to dip them in or if you have a little Ranch dressing on hand that’s pretty awesome too. If you’re thinking about making this a meal, pair it with a cantaloupe salad with shaved prosciutto over a bed of arugula.
Complete your meal with an American South vibe with a tall glass of sweet tea or head over the pond to the Spanish-Portuguese boarder with a Vinho Verde wine. Personally, I opt for the Vinho Verde. It’s a light crisp wine that hints of green apple and citrus with a touch of effervescence.
Ready for the recipe? Here’s how to make fried green tomatoes without a lot of fuss and with a whole lotta flavor! Enjoy!
Fried Green Tomatoes
Here's how to make Fried Tomatoes easy. Don't wait for all your tomatoes to ripen for this is a scrumptious summer treat. Dip these Fried Green Tomatoes in a homemade garlic aioli or Ranch dressing and make them extra special! | www.lakesidetable.com
- 3 large unripened green tomatoes
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 cups Ritz cracker crumbs
- 2 eggs beaten
- 2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1/2 cup bacon grease or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup herb chopped herbs such as: parsley, basil, thyme, oregano
Slice tomatoes in 1/2 inch slices and slightly salt on both sides. Let them rest on paper towels to draw out the excess water.
Add the butter and bacon grease to a skillet (cast iron works great!) Turn the stove to a low heat.
Prepare your Triple Coating Station with 3 shallow bowls: 1st bowl - Put your flour in one. 2nd bowl - Beat 2 eggs until just combined. 3rd bowl - Mix the Italian seasoning with the breadcrumbs.
Pat the tomato slices dry. Working with one slice at a time, dredge it through the flour. Shake off any excess flour. Dip it into the beaten egg. Then submerge the slice in the crumb mixture. Lay it on a clean paper towel. Repeat with the remaining slices.
When all the slices are laid out and triple coated, turn the skillet heat up to medium high. Be careful not to burn the butter. It it starts to smoke, turn the heat down.
After the butter has melted, in a clockwise pattern, start at the top and lay the tomato slices in the skillet. When the edges underneath start to turn golden brown, flip them over in the same order they went into the pan.
When they're golden brown that side (about 3-4 minutes), drain them on paper towels.
Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs. Serve hot with garlic herb aioli (mayo) or Ranch dressing.
Instead of Ritz crackers, you can use Saltines or Panko bread crumbs. If crackers aren't handy, make your own breadcrumbs. Toast some bread, break it into pieces over a blender and pulse it on high until crumbs form.
Check out my aioli recipe for a quick dip that's super tasty.
For the chopped herbs, use your favorite! I like a mix of sage, chives, and parsley.