Sunday, August 05, 2007

Beginner's luck

Tonight's Menu

  • grilled boneless pork chops
  • leftover sweet & sour red cabbage
  • leftover green beans from the garden
  • fried green tomatoes
Yeah, this dinner was a bit of a hodge-podge. The cabbage and beans were left over from the other night; I was trying to clean out the refrigerator a bit.

The pork chops were seasoned with Jane's Krazy Salt and garlic pepper, then grilled over high heat for 4 minutes per side. Easy.

Believe it or not, this is the first time I've ever made fried green tomatoes. When my tomato plants first started to bear fruit in the spring, I couldn't bear to pick the tomatoes at the green stage. I had visions of ripe, juicy red tomatoes all summer long. Well, I got them, and how! We ended up giving a bunch away because there were just SO MANY. The plants were getting really gross looking lately and the bugs have been horrible, so we're not getting much in the way of ripe fruit anymore. My dad (my personal gardening guru) says it's time to plant fall tomatoes anyway, so today I yanked out all my existing tomato plants and scavenged what I could in the way of produce. I ended up with a few green tomatoes and thought this would be a good way to use them up. (If I'd had more, I'd have made my first attempt at green tomato pickles, which are a thing of beauty.)

Anyhoodle, this is how I made them. I just kind of winged it instead of using a recipe. I decided to go with a four-tray approach: milk, seasoned (with salt and pepper) flour, beaten egg, and seasoned (with salt, pepper and cayenne) cornmeal. I sliced the green tomatoes fairly thin (like 1/8 inch) and dipped them in the above order -- milk first, then flour, then egg, then cornmeal -- before GENTLY laying them into a half-inch or so of heated canola oil in a high-sided skillet. I worked in batches so as not to crowd the pan. I honestly can't tell you how long they took to cook -- I just babysat them VERY closely, turned them when they were looking lightly brown, and took them out when they were a uniform color on both sides. I drained them on paper towels but didn't re-season since I had basically salted them twice already.

They came out very crispy with a thick crust that DID NOT FALL OFF. My husband, who declared himself a hater of fried green tomatoes before I started cooking them, actually had seconds. He compared the coating to that of fried okra. I prefer more of a tempura batter on my fried veggies but wasn't brave enough to attempt one. These came out really good, though, I have to say. I think the cayenne made all the difference in flavor, and the four-tray method really helped the coating stay on the tomatoes.


daysgoby said...

Congrats, B! You done good!

sugarbutter said...

Egg and Jiffy cornmeal mix is great. Has a little sweetness which is perfect with the tart green tomatoes. Try it. You won't look back.