Sunday, September 20, 2009

Last Brunch of Summer: Fried (Greenish) Tomatoes

Ever since I saw the mid-nineties tearjerker at age 8, I've been itching to try fried green tomatoes for myself. But like my fear of pastry crusts, frying was also a cooking technique that seemed to elude me. Plus the fact that I never really found an excuse to buy bread crumbs or under-ripe tomatoes. Granted, such tomatoes were available in abundance in my dad's garden, but asking to make any dish with the word "fried" in the title seemed downright insulting in such a health-conscious household.

But yesterday I went to Rosh Hoshana lunch with cousins in Teaneck. Like every Jewish family love, is expressed through how much food is sent home with you after you leave, and I was sent packing with a bundle of fresh herbs, a loaf of challah bread, two avocados, and finally, some under-ripe tomatoes.

This morning found me sleeping in until about 1:00, and with a craving for fried green tomatoes, I decided to take the plunge. Not in a mood to buy bread crumbs or corn meal, I managed to find a recipe on for a version that used simply flour.

Fried Green Tomatoes

2 or 3 green tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 c. flour
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying

To begin, I coated the tomato slices in the flour.

Next, I heated a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet and plopped the tomato slices in. After a few false starts and the inevitable overzealous smoke detector sounding (hey, at least it cares) I cooked each tomato slice until they were slightly browned and crispy on both sides. While not all of the tomatoes were strictly green, they came out fine, though the firmness of the green ones made them hold up a bit better with the heat. What was nice about the mix of colors was the vibrancy they brought to the finished plate.

To serve, I sprinkled with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. To add some extra variety and color to the meal, you can take a handful of baby spinach and saute for a few minutes in the leftover oil from the tomatoes.

While the tomatoes were very satisfying on their own, I imagine they could also pair very well with some steamed rice, potatoes, or eggs if you want to make a full meal out of it.

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