Fried Green Tomatoes are a southern specialty and yet one more way to use everything from the garden at the end of the season! There's always a few tomatoes that simply refuse to ripen in time, but that's no reason to let them go to rot. Serving Fried Green Tomatoes with Remoulade Sauce is the perfect way to serve them as an appetizer, but they do double duty as a side dish too.
Unripe green tomatoes? Or can I use heirloom green tomatoes?Oh what I wouldn’t give for a plate of fried green tomatoes like we used to have at the café. Ooh. -the character, Ninny, played by Jessica Tandy in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes
Nope, they absolutely are not ripe and you can't use heirloom green tomatoes that are still green when they are ripe. This dish certainly calls for regular unripe tomatoes. You know, the ones that simply refuse to ripen before the end of the growing season.
Go ahead and pick them! You now have a use for them. And if you don't want to make Fried Green Tomatoes with Remoulade, you can wrap the tomatoes in newspaper and they will ripen. Truly ... my mom carried boxes of newspaper-wrapped tomatoes from her garden in Mississippi to our new home in Tennessee and we had fresh tomatoes for weeks!
Make the Remoulade Sauce first
It's all in the sauce. -the character Sipsey played by Cicely Tyson in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes
And truly it is! Fried Green Tomatoes are just fine on their own (with plenty of salt!) and make a great side dish to any dinner. But if you want to make them a little more special and especially if you want to serve them as an appetizer, this remoulade sauce is amazing.
There are many remoulade recipes out there! Some call for boatloads of ingredients like horseradish, capers, Worcestershire sauce, and anchovies. I think all of those things are totally not necessary and personally, I keep it simple.
Remoulade is a mayonnaise based sauce. I add Dijon mustard, lemon juice, pickles, parsley, paprika, and garlic powder. And a little hot sauce! Just mix it all up and away you go.
A system for the breading
A friend mentioned that she tried to make Fried Green Tomatoes, but had not succeeded. She said that it looked like that I had a system.
I don't know how the legendary Whistle Stop Cafe made their Fried Green Tomatoes or if they served a Remoulade Sauce, but I do think it takes a bit of a system to get the coating or breading right on them. So here's my system:
Set up three platters for coating the green tomatoes
The first platter is the seasoned flour. I season with smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. You can use traditional all-purpose flour or a gluten-free 1:1 blend. OR you can use cassava flour! A lot of people like to use Wondra flour which is a fine powdery flour, but it is "enriched and bleached", two things that have no place in my kitchen. Cassava flour is made from the yucca root, has the same texture as Wondra, but has no gluten or grains. It works like a charm!
The second platter is buttermilk, egg, and a bit of hot sauce.
The last platter is homemade sourdough crumbs and fine ground cornmeal. You can use store-bought breadcrumbs or you can make them using old bread. Just put the slices in your food processor and process till they are small.
As for the cornmeal, you can use any grind that you want, but I find the medium to be just about right. I don't recommend corn flour because it is too fine.
How to prepare for frying the tomatoes
I recommend a cast iron skillet. But of course, I do. I use my 12-inch one.
If you don't have one, don't sweat it too much, but use a heavy stainless steel one or ceramic coated one. Avoid non-stick.
Heat the oil to a medium or medium-high heat. And while it is heating ... do this:
Start with the seasoned flour platter. Put the tomato slices in the flour and coat on each side.
Then put them in the buttermilk egg mixture.
And finally, coat the tomato slices in the breadcrumbs and cornmeal mixture.
How to Fry
I have no photos of this process and for that I apologize. However, the process is that you heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-medium high heat. Carefully lay the coated green tomato slices into the heated oil. Fry on the first side 4-6 minutes until golden. Turn once only, and fry on the other side 4-6 minutes. If they are browning too quickly or if the oil starts to smoke, turn the temperature down. It should be about 350°F.
How to serve
Fried Green Tomatoes are best served straight from the pan onto your plate! I like to serve them as an appetizer, in which case one or two slices are enough for each person. They are also a great side dish to grilled meats. I love to have them on their own for dinner ... what a treat! And don't forget the remoulade sauce!
Fried Green Tomatoes with Remoulade
FOR THE REMOULADE
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup dill pickles chopped small
- 1 Tablespoon parsley chopped
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce like Tabasco
FOR THE FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
- 3 large unripe green tomatoes 1-1½ pounds
- ½ cup flour I use cassava flour as a gluten-free, grain-free option.
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup buttermilk
- large egg
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce
- ¾ cup fresh bread crumbs I use homemade sourdough crumbs, but you can use fresh store bought (not dried), or panko.
- ¾ cup medium grind yellow cornmeal
- oil for frying
- Make the Remoulade Sauce by stirring all the ingredients together. Store in the refrigerator while frying the green tomatoes.
- Using a sharp knife, slice the green tomatoes into ⅜-½ inch thick. Place them in one layer on a baking sheet or large platter and sprinkle them with salt. Let them sit for about 30 minutes to draw out some moisture. If you don't have time to do this, it's fine, but it helps the coating to stick better. Gently pat dry with paper towels before coating and frying.
- Set up your "coating station" using three separate shallow plates. These can be soup plates, pie plates, or dinner plates, or platters.
- In the first platter, put the flour, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
- In the second platter, put the buttermilk, egg, and hot sauce and mix with a fork or whisk.
- In the third platter, put the breadcrumbs and fine grind cornmeal.
- After patting the tomato slices dry with paper towels, place them first in the flour platter, then in the buttermilk platter, and finally in the breadcrumbs and cornmeal mixture.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-medium high heat. Carefully lay the coated green tomato slices into the heated oil. Fry on the first side 4-6 minutes until golden. Turn once only, and fry on the other side 4-6 minutes. If they are browning too quickly or if the oil starts to smoke, turn the temperature down. It should be about 350°F.
- Work in batches and remove the fried tomato slices to a paper towel lined cooling rack that is set over a baking sheet.
- Serve on a bed of lettuces with the Remoulade Sauce.