Flavorful Fried Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes.

They have one of two destinies:

Destiny #1: They can ripen into a beautiful red tomato or

Destiny #2: They can be plucked and turned into a crispy treat.

I’m not typically a fan of fried vegetables, but after wandering past rows of plump green tomatoes these past few months, I finally got curious enough to whip up a batch of fried green tomatoes.

Since I did not have a family recipe for this dish, I went in search of one that had just the right flavor and texture to make frying a vegetable worth the extra calories.

I found just what I was looking for in this recipe from Food Network’s Down Home With the Neely’s.

The verdict?

They were the best fried green tomatoes I have ever tasted!

They were a hit with my friends!

They were gone in a matter of minutes!

If you have a few green tomatoes sitting around, I suggest you put them and this recipe to work.

Flavorful Fried Green Tomatoes

(recipe adapted from The Neelys)

First things first, get your frying oil hot and ready!

Cook’s Tip: A 6-inch cast iron pot is ideal if you do not have a deep fryer or do not want to waste so much oil filling a larger pot.  A sturdy, heavy-bottomed pan or deep skillet would also work, though.

Fill pot with roughly 3 inches of canola oil and heat over medium-high until hot.

Meanwhile, prepare the tomatoes.

Cut about 4-5 large tomatoes or 10-15 smaller tomatoes into 1/4″ slices and season with kosher salt and black pepper.

Cook’s Tip: You can use red tomatoes, too, as long as they are firm and not fully ripened.

Time to set up the breading station!

In one shallow dish or plate, mix 3/4 cup flour with one Tablespoon garlic powder and one teaspoon Old Bay seasoning.

In another, beat three large eggs and two tablespoons of milk until smooth.

In a final dish, mix 1 cup of Panko bread crumbs with 1/2 teaspoon paprika and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Cook’s Tip: Panko is a type of breadcrumb that gives fried foods a wonderfully light and crunchy texture.  You can find them in the Asian or seafood aisle.

Time to dress up our tomatoes!

First, dredge tomato slices in flour mixture and lightly shake off excess.

Next, dip slices in egg…

…and then in the Panko making sure every inch of tomato is covered.  Lightly shake off excess.  (Yes, your hands will get uber messy.)

Carefully place 3-4 slices of tomato at a time into the hot oil and cook for 2-3 minutes, turning once, until golden.

Remove and drain on paper towels.

Lightly sprinkle with salt while hot.

Diner’s Tip: Your first instinct will be to pop one of the these lovelies into your mouth right away.  DON’T DO IT!  That lovely is HOT! Just wait a couple minutes, okay?

I was super impressed with this recipe.  The tomatoes had such a great flavor and the texture of the breading was light and crispy instead of heavy and soggy.  Though best warm, they were still great at room temperature and maintained their crispiness.  Such versatility makes them the perfect addition to a summer potluck or picnic.

Can’t wait for my next crop of green tomatoes!

The Recipe

Serves 4

*Canola oil

*4-5 large green tomatoes (0r 10-12 smaller tomatoes)

*salt and pepper

*3/4 cup all-purpose flour

*1 Tablespoon garlic powder

*1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

*3 large eggs, beaten

*2 Tablespoons milk

*1-1 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs

*1/2 teaspoon paprika

*Pinch of cayenne pepper

Fill a medium-sized pot with a couple inches of canola oil.  Heat oil over medium-high heat until hot.

Meanwhile, cut tomatoes into 1/4″ slices and season with salt and pepper.

In a shallow dish or plate, add flour, garlic powder and Old Bay and mix.

In a separate dish, pour beaten egg.

In a final dish, add Panko, paprika and cayenne.

Dredge a tomato slice in flour and shake off the excess.  Next, dip tomato in egg and then in the Panko, making sure the tomato is completely covered in bread crumbs.  Lightly shake off the excess and carefully place in hot oil.

Cook tomatoes 2-3 minutes, turning once, until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve warm.