Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Classic Southern Fried Green Tomatoes

Sliced green tomatoes, seasoned with salt, pepper, marinated in buttermilk, and dredged in a cornmeal and flour mixture tossed with Cajun seasoning, then fried - they are a true Southern Classic.

Southern Fried Green Tomatoes

Everybody likely remembers the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, based on the book by Fannie Flagg, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. It certainly popularized the common green tomato for sure and lots of restaurants jumped on that green tomato wagon shortly after the movie was released.

"There's not a tomato safe
south of the Mason-Dixon line." Fannie Flagg.

But truthfully, fried green tomatoes have been around a long, long time and likely date back to the Depression, when folks would just about fry up anything and call it dinner. A batch of fried green tomatoes with a big glass of sweet iced tea and you had yourself a tasty and light dish for a hot summer night. That would be light as in not heavy, not light as in diet-light!

Some folks claim that the idea of fried green tomatoes came somewhere out of the northern regions of our country and aren't even a "southern thing" at all! Well... no matter where or how they originated, I reckon you can't hardly hear those three words without at least thinkin' of The South, so it was a perfect name for a book and movie that depicted the ups and downs, ins and outs, and complexities of life in the south. I so love that movie and can't even guess at the number of times I have watched it.

Always best with fresh, green tomatoes picked straight out of the backyard garden, fried green tomatoes need to be served hot, preferably right out of the pan. They should be juicy on the inside, but crispy, crunchy and salty on the outside - never soggy! Serve with your favorite dipping sauce - a true Mississippi Comeback Sauce is wonderful, but if you're not feeling up to making a batch, try my husband's favorite and easy Lazy Man's KetMayo Sauce.

Recipe: Fried Green Tomatoes

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Inactive time: 30 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 large green tomatoes, or more as needed, preferably right off the vine
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • Buttermilk, to cover
  • 1/4 cup or more of bacon fat or frying oil
  • 1 cup of cornmeal, more or less as needed
  • 1/4 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama)

Place a rack over a pan covered in paper towels; set aside. Slice the tomatoes into thick slices - 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick. Season generously with salt and pepper and let sit for 5 minutes. Place into a small, shallow bowl and cover with buttermilk. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes or longer.

Heat bacon fat or oil over medium high heat. Mix the corn meal with the flour and Cajun seasoning on a plate. Remove the tomato slices from the buttermilk, letting excess drip off. Dredge in the cornmeal mixture, coating both sides and edges. Place immediately into the hot fat, frying for about 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown, turning only once. Don't crowd the pan ... give them plenty of room to groove!

Drain on the rack, sprinkle immediately with kosher salt as they come out of the pan and serve right away. Can also place into a low oven to keep warm if necessary. Continue with remaining slices, adding additional bacon fat to the skillet as needed. Tomatoes should be crisp, not soggy.

Serve just plain, with a dab of mayo, Comeback Sauce, Lazy Man's KetMayo Sauce, Spicy Mustard Sauce, White Rémoulade Sauce or your favorite dipping sauce.

Cook's Notes: Can double dip in the buttermilk/flour mixture if desired, however this does make for a thicker crust. If you don't have buttermilk, you can substitute regular milk, however, you will need to add a little more flour in with your cornmeal to help the cornmeal adhere.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on June 10, 2009
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  1. If hubs will let me pull some off the vine...that sounds divine for dinner!

  2. We don't have tomatoes yet here in Utah but if we did -- yummo to the tummo. My mouth is just watering like you would not believe. These are one of my favorite treats. You would go and put the thought of them in my head -- now what do I do until our tomatoes come on?????

  3. Girl Please!! You know I just printed this recipe!! Hubby and I were just talking about frying some of our green maters.......

  4. I loved the movie, but I've never had a fried green tomato. Guess I have no excuse now. Thanks for the recipe. Have a wonderful day.

  5. Bella, maybe you can sneak one or two of 'em off to have a treat all by yourself. Doesn't anybody else do this behind yer hubby's back??? Anyone??

    Oh Bev... c'mon down here gal and I'll serve ya some right on up!

    Darla, you know all those maters hanging out there just waiting to ripen ... I could not resist!!!

    Mary, I just love them. I ate every single one of those in the picture for breakfast!! And truth be know, I coulda ate more... I know. I know. Just shameful...

  6. I agree, they should be crispy... and yours sure do! Yum :)

  7. I like them think and crispy. You did a bang up job on these!

  8. I received my Mississippi Cookbook in today's mail. I AM SO EXCITED! Can't wait to try some of these recipes. Thanks much!

  9. Karen & Katherine, you're absolutely right - CRISP is really the key.

    Bev, I'm so glad - be sure to let me know if you try anything in there!

  10. I love fried green tomatoes...and of course it always makes me think of the movie. That was probably the first time I'd ever heard of them (but I was pretty young when it was first released). These sound great!

  11. My family were all southerners and don't remember them ever making them. Don't know why. We used to go pickin tomatoes every season for canning too. Weird!!!! I will try these...

  12. I love that movie too! And you're right when you think of fried green tomatoes you think of the south. I have lots of tomato plants this year so hopefully i'll get to try this recipe. I got the cookbook today!! I can't wait to make something from it!! Thank You!!

  13. I have always wanted to try fried green tomatoes and yours looks absolutely delicious! Now if I only had a green tomato. My tomato plants just started flowering. Guess I'll have to be patient. Thanks for the recipe!

  14. I have never tried them...but wouldn't mind!

  15. I loved the movie but I have never tried the entree. Thanks for the recipie. Maybe I will try it sometime.

  16. I could just never bring myself to try one, it just seems bad to deep fry tomatoes. But my first husband's family loved them.

  17. True, it's definitely a YMMV thing - but me, I LOVE them!!


  19. I have some pinto beans, cornbread and I am going to fry green tomatoes to add to that for lunch today. Can't wait to try your recipe!

    I follow you on Facebook, but I am curious about the Mississippi Cookbook that several people have mentioned. Is it for sale on your site?


  20. I like to fry mine with Panko crumbs.

  21. Hi genkileslie! This is the more traditional way, but I love panko too and I'm so glad that it has become more widely available now. Thanks for stopping by - hope to see you again!

  22. My key ingredient... garlic salt on top. My mouth's watering!

  23. How do you keep the breading from falling off?

    1. Coating in the buttermilk is the secret for me - you can also double dip them back into the buttermilk and cornmeal, but it does make for a much thicker crust. Works pretty good when you use your hands and helps the crust adhere, but makes it harder to cut if you prefer not to use your hands.

  24. I love these! The first time I had these was in 2001 when my wife and I spent a week in Charleston, SC, on our journey from NY to the Fl Keys, aboard my tug boat. Little did we know, 4+ years later we’d be calling SC home. There is a God and he’s awesome!
    I tried something a little different. I made fried green tomato BLT’s on homemade sourdough bread. Oh wow! Everyone went nuts for them.
    If you want a crispier tomato, combine grape seed oil with the bacon fat. Grape seed oil has no real flavor of its own but will substantially raise the smoke point of the bacon fat. You’ll get the flavor of the bacon and the crispness of high heat all in one shot.
    Someone suggested pimento cheese with the fried green tomatoes. That sounds like it would make a great sandwich. Fried green tomatoes, some pimento cheese, a thin slice of red onion, all between two pieces of homemade sourdough bread and finished off in a Panini press. I’ve gotta try that!
    BTW; I’ve noticed that some folks are having trouble with their coating falling off. Try dunking them in flour first, shake it off well so that it’s just coated, (no clumps); then the buttermilk, then the coating. You’ll find that things stick better. After going pro, I discovered that egg wash, milk, cream, et cetera, really doesn’t stick to anything without a good foundation, flour.
    God bless.

    1. Thank you Chris - I always look forward to your comments!! I have been meaning to update this recipe with the flour/buttermilk/dredge for ages but never got around to it. Hopefully I won't forget again!


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