For you folks in the South, I know there’s a definitive and sacred method for making fried green tomatoes that involves eggs, cornmeal, salt, pepper and hot oil – I’ve fried them this way for many years. But if you’re feeling a little adventurous and like your food a bit on the spicy side, and maybe want to impress your summer guests, you’ll most assuredly want to try these. While I make the usual cornmeal fried green tomatoes of my father-in-law, when it comes to my husband and my guests, I like to kick it up a little. And by kick it up, I mean create a gourmet taste sensation that’s cool, crispy, spicy, tart, buttery and creamy, all at the same time. I fry up the tomatoes, then stack them one at a time, three altogether on a plate, with layers of creamy goat cheese and pretty little red spots of Sriracha sauce between them. These are absolutely Amazing Fried Green Tomatoes and a meal in themselves.
What makes these different starts with the breading. Instead of using regular cornmeal to coat the tomato slices, I use a Cajun style fish fry. Most of those fish breading or coating mixes you find in more northerly locations have mild and lightly seasoned fish fry, which is a good choice if you can’t take a lot of heat. But if you, like me, have a highly refined taste for the fiery peppers renown in the cooking in the State of Louisiana, then you might go for this:Be forewarned! It is SPICY HOT! I was three bites in when I broke a sweat and had to excuse myself several times from the table to blow my nose. Man, they were good! They were a bit much for my husband, though, so if you don’t have a high tolerance for spicy, go a notch lower with a medium to mild fish fry. You can add more heat with Sriracha sauce and so can your guests.
As many green tomatoes as want to slice and fry
A good electric skillet (many use a cast iron and I do too, but I like to control the temperature on these babies precisely to avoid over or under browning)
Canola or vegetable oil
Fish fry (medium to hot & spicy)
Butter (salted is better)
Salt & Pepper
Eggs (number depends on how many tomato slices you intend to cook)
Good quality goat cheese (try Costco’s…it’s excellent and a great value)
Sriracha sauce to taste
Slice your tomatoes between 1/4 and 1/2 inches thick. Using a fork, whip up 4-5 eggs in a shallow bowl until frothy and add salt and pepper to taste (I admit, I use a LOT). Meanwhile pour about half an inch of oil in your skillet and while that’s heating up, add 1/4 to 1/2 stick of real butter. This is optional, but I do love the buttery taste on the breading and it’s worth an extra 40 minutes of cardio. You’ll want your skillet to be about 425 to 450 degrees, nice and hot, before you fry. Dip your tomato slices in the egg mixture, then move to a plate or pie pan in which you have spread out the fish fry coating. Dredge the tomatoes generously and drop into the hot oil. Leave them alone until you see the edges begin to brown and when they reach a nice, rich color, use a spatula to turn them.
Be sure the oil recovers the surface before you lay the slice down on the uncooked side. It takes usually about 7 minutes or so for the first side, and about 5 for the second. It’s important to immediately place them on a plate that has layers of paper towels to soak up the excess oil. I also use a clean, crumpled up paper towel to dab any excess oil on top by pressing lightly into the hot slice for a moment or two. I like them crispy! Here is where you can toss a little salt on them, if you wish. I do!
Once you have three nice slices, plate up the first one and crumble some goat cheese on top. To taste, place small drops of Sriracha on the cheese. Cover that with another hot slice and repeat. Top with the third slice and sprinkled goat cheese with pretty red daubs of hot sauce. Serve these piping hot! I generally have friends just sit at my kitchen island and eat them as I cook them.
While I still love my tried and true Southern Fried Green Tomatoes, I always make some of these Amazing variety at my husband’s request. Every guest of ours who has tried them swears they taste better than the gourmet fried green tomatoes they’ve had any in high-end restaurant and several say they never want them any other way. While the tomato season is upon us, why not live a little? This very well may become one of your favorite summer go-to recipes.
P.S. I had leftovers, which I stored on paper towels within an airtight food storage container in the fridge. I heated them up in the microwave for lunch today, added some goat cheese and man! They were delicious! They aren’t crisp but they taste wonderful.