Fried Green Tomatoes and Old Cheddar

Fried Green Tomatoes and Old Cheddar

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 CheddarFried Green Tomatoes and Old Cheddar
Recipe by
Cuisine: Southern
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

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Ingredients:
  • 1 lb (450 g) firm green tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup fine cornmeal
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup fresh grated sharp old Cheddar cheese
  • paprika or cayenne for garnish
Instructions:
  • Finely slice the tops and bottoms off the tomatoes, and slice the rest into 1/2-inch thick slices.

  • Pour the cornmeal on to a dinner plate and mix in the salt, pepper and cayenne evenly with a fork. Dredge the tomato slices through the cornmeal mixture, pressing lightly on each side to form a thick even coating.

  • Melt the butter over medium heat in a large frying pan and preheat a broiler. Add the tomato slices to the pan and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes on each side, until the cornmeal is browned.

  • Remove the tomato slices to a baking sheet and sprinkle with the Cheddar cheese and a few pinches of paprika or cayenne. Place under the broiler just long enough for the cheese to melt.

  • Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Makes 4 servings

Fried Green Tomatoes and Old Cheddar

8 comments:

Ricki said...

I've also been wanting to try these for years, since I first saw the movie of the same name. Yours look terrific. That crisp cornmeal and cheddar coating int he 2nd photo is quite irresistible!

Lori said...

I have had fried green tomatoes before and I love them. Never had them with cheese and wow it sounds delicious.

Johanna said...

I never see green tomatoes around Melbourne either - but if I did I know I would just draw blank on what to do with them - would love a taste of one of yours - look delicious

jasmine said...

These look delicious -- I prefer tomatoes that have been cooked in some way...should try something like this...

j

Bellini Valli said...

I like your version of using heirloom green tomatoes. I found some at a farmers market further south from home. I have always made fried green tomatoes from tomatoes that are unripened on the vine. It is a great way to use up the tomatoes that are leftover in the garden and not ripe yet. You can pickle them or make relish...but fried green tomatoes are the best way to prepare them:D

Ivy said...

Would like to try these if I ever get green tomatoes. They do sound good.

Kevin said...

Adding cheese to fried green tomatoes is a great idea!

rhid said...

I've been thinking about making some of these. I have a friend here (Seattle) who has some seriously green tomatoes on her plants. I'm thinking it may be now or never to try them. This recipe looks awfully good. I don't like baked tomatoes general ie. roasted just because they fall apart these guy's seemed to hold their shape pretty well - I'm liking the look of them...