Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dry Before You Fry

There are certain movies that I love and usually don't feel the need to share with people, mostly out of embarrassment.  For some reason I get a little ashamed when I tell people that I love movies like Steel Magnolias and Fried Green Tomatoes.  These movies are 80's chick flicks that I watched when I was a kid and at the time never really understood, yet I still loved them.  After watching them again and again as I got older, I truly believe I was meant to be an old, cranky southern woman.  I enjoy eating/cooking bad-for-you food, cooking for the people I love, making up words, being bossy and loud. The list goes on. Those examples are how I see some southern women, you know, the Paula Dean type. I'm not trying to be offensive towards them either, after all, I want to be one of them.

I'm not totally sure why I had a sudden urge to make fried green tomatoes and until a few years ago I thought it was just a movie title. I know, I'm shaking my head at me too. The best part is, I'm hardly the only person to think that.  A few other people I know thought the same as me, it's just an old movie title.  Can you blame us? If you are from Minnesota or North Dakota and you were to tell me that your mother made you fried green tomatoes regularly, I'd be shocked. I have no idea why mid-westerner's don't fry green tomatoes more often, but I'm hooked. They are the tastiest fried food item I've eaten since fried pickles, and I love fried pickles. I'm a big tomato fan but these are a whole different story. The unripe tomatoes are sweet and firm after fried and there is just a touch of spice in the cornmeal/flour coating. I think at one point I moaned while eating one. I'm sort of ashamed, but not really.They turned out perfect but I was afraid they were going to get mushy because of the tomato juices, but that is why you dry before you fry. I have left instructions for that below the recipe. I took this recipe from Cook's Country magazine and their recipes have always worked for me. So, here is that recipe and I really hope you get a chance to try these before tomato season is over.

Fried Green Tomatoes

1 1/2 pounds green tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
(about 4-5 green tomatoes)
2/3 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
2 cups peanut or vegetable oil

1. Place tomatoes on paper towel lined rimmed baking sheet.  Cover with more paper towels, let sit for 20 minutes, and pat dry.  Meanwhile, process 1/3 cup cornmeal in blender until very firmly ground, about 1 minute. Combine processed cornmeal, remaining 1/3 cup cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne in shallow dish.  Whisk buttermilk and egg together in second shallow dish.

2. Working one at a time, dip tomato slices in buttermilk mixture, then dredge in cornmeal mixture, pressing firmly to adhere; transfer to clean baking sheet.

3. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until 350 degrees.  Fry 4 tomato slices until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side.  Drain on wire rack set in baking sheet.  Bring oil back to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining tomato slices. Serve.

*KEY STEP: Dry Before You Fry
To keep the tomatoes from weeping as they fry (which will loosen the coating), let them sit between paper towels for 20 minutes and then press dry.

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