Friday, May 3, 2013

Fried Green Tomatoes with Buttermilk Green Goddess Dressing

Anyone remember reading (or watching) Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe?  I've always loved both the movie and the book, but for the life of me, I committed a sin to all Southerners: I'd never tasted a fried green tomato in my entire life!  That is, until my husband and I were visiting family in Kentucky and went out to dinner with his best friend and his wife.  K ordered some fried green tomatoes and insisted I try one!  Oh my word was I hooked!  I couldn't wait to make up my own batch, so when I saw this recipe in a magazine, I couldn't wait to try it!  Living in California, green tomatoes are hard to come by; luckily, tomatillos are available year-round!

For the tomatoes:
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 large egg
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
canola oil for frying
4 large green tomatoes (or tomatillos) cored and sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds

For the dressing:
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh chives
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 a lime
5 fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with a brown paper bag or parchment paper.

Place the buttermilk and egg in a shallow bowl and whisk to combine.  Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and pepper in a separate shallow bowl and stir to mix.

Pour canola oil into a large skillet to just barely cover the bottom and place over medium-high heat until sizzling hot.

One at a time, dip the tomato slices in the buttermilk and then in the flour mixture to coat both sides, shaking off excess.  Working in batches to avoid overcrowding the skillet, carefull place 4-6 tomato slices in the hot oil and fry until the undersides are golden brown, about 2 minutes.

Use tongs or a slotted spatula to transfer the fried tomatoes to the prepared baking sheet to drain.  Place in the oven to keep warm and repeat the process with the remaining tomato slices.

Season with additional salt and pepper and serve warm with the dressing drizzled over the top or on the side.

Make the dressing:  Place all ingredients in a blender or food processer and puree until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use or for up to one week.  Makes about a cup.

Serves 6-8.

Recipe adapted from Southern Kitchen, by Sara Foster.

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