I don’t like having gunk all over my fingers, but there are circumstances that call for it. Fried green tomatoes are now one of those reasons.
My friend C counseled me on how to use all the beautiful green tomatoes I had still in my garden – it’s frustrating that as soon as they ripen up, I have to snatch them up or risk disease or pests getting them. Green tomatoes, on the other hand, are often beautifully firm and shiny and I was itching to try eating them. C mentioned that a simple egg wash, a dry coating of corn meal and flour mixed together, and a quick dip in some hot oil would yield a tasty treat, so I tried it! It got my fingers quite messy, but I still vote for it!
I started by mixing corn flour (not corn meal, but I think they’d be even more crunchy if I had used that) and regular flour with some salt, pepper, garlic, and a little paprika. In a separate bowl, I mixed a little milk and an egg (I had to replenish with a second egg; you guys know I’m terrible with proportions). I then sliced all my green San Marzanos length wise; I wanted larger surface area to coat because my tomatoes are pretty petite to begin with. They took three dips (dry, wet, dry) while I heated up a quarter inch of canola oil in a big frying pan. It was more than just a coating on the bottom, but not enough to float the tomatoes. Once it was nice and hot (medium-high), I put the coated tomatoes in to sizzle.
While I would recommend doing this with a friend, Husband was busy working on our monthly budget at the kitchen table while I scrambled to have enough hands: I was cutting and breading more tomatoes, flipping the cooking ones once they turned brown, pulling the finished tomatoes out onto a plate with paper towel on it, and seasoning them with more garlic and pepper, all while accidentally getting goo on my fingers and having to wash it away. That being said, this is a delightfully active cooking experience; no set-it-and-forget-it. The tomatoes fry quickly and I had to adjust the temperature of the oil just to keep up.
What resulted was firm and tangy but mostly just tasted like fried batter – i.e. wonderful. Husband dipped his in Frank’s red hot sauce, and I made a garlicky, peppery mayonnaise for dipping. I want to say I ate something else for dinner, but let’s be real – this is all I had. High marks!