I've been hoping to try fried green tomatoes for years now ever since I'd heard of this famous old down-south comfort food — after all, if anyone does comfort food like Southerners do, I don't know about it. But as much as I like to add my own touches to classic recipes, I'm a bit of a stickler when it comes to the basic articles … so I'm not about to start putting ordinary tomatoes where a genuine green tomato belongs. Unfortunately, green tomatoes — as opposed to unripened tomatoes — seem to be the stuff of legend here in southwestern Ontario where we grow plenty of otherwise red, orange or yellow ones.
So I was extraordinarily delighted — and surprised — when I finally came across a few small handfuls of green heirloom tomatoes sitting in a basket at a small store where I ordinarily pick up my dairy and dried goods. It was a matter of seconds for me to grab them up, and just half-a-day later for fried green tomatoes to appear on my breakfast plate.
Green tomatoes have a full, sweet but less acidic tomato taste with a smooth texture — one could say almost oily, but in a good way — that makes the fruit almost slide down your mouth. There are plenty of ways to coat and fry green tomatoes — in cornmeal, bread crumbs, cracker crumbs or flour, with or without beaten eggs — but a simple variation on the traditional salt, pepper and cornmeal method with a little added cayenne for spice seemed to me to be a proper way to go for my first taste. Of course, the green tomatoes are traditionally fried in bacon grease too — and while I won't deny the comfort food pleasures of bacon for meat-eaters, something a little different in the flavor department was required for vegetarians, and I decided to melt a little sharp aged cheddar cheese on top instead.
Warm, soft and sweet on the inside, crisp and a little spicy on the outside, and with the mild salty palette of melted old cheddar on top … these fried green tomatoes are a small simple pleasure and definitely deserve the comfort food label. Green tomatoes are not absolutely necessary, and I'll be making these again with whatever variety I have on hand, but be sure to use firm and just ripened tomatoes.
|Fried Green Tomatoes and Old Cheddar|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Published on September 26, 2008
Warm, soft and sweet on the inside, crisp and a little spicy on the outside, and with the mild salty palette of melted sharp old Cheddar on top, these fried green tomatoes are a small simple comfort food pleasure