Fried green tomatoes, with dipping sauce

Long before the hit movie and play, Fried Green Tomatoes, came out, there were a lot of folks who had never heard of fried green tomatoes! Here in the Deep South, however, it’s been a favorite of Southern food for a long, long time, so I had to include it in my online cooking classes. We Southerners usually have a plethora of tomatoes from our gardens, and we’ve had to come up with all kinds of ways to eat them.

To make perfect fried green tomatoes, you have to start with the right tomato. The tomatoes have to be green, but not the deeper green of very immature fruit. The right tomatoes are whitish-green – the color they turn just before they start getting their red color.

Any variety of tomato will work, although there are subtle differences. My favorite is the Early Girl. It’s high in both acid and in sugar, and it’s a nice size for frying.

What you’ll need:

green tomatoes

cooking oil

one cup whole buttermilk

one egg, beaten

flour

yellow or white corn meal

salt and pepper

other seasonings*

Wash the tomatoes and cut them into 1/4 or 1/3-inch slices. Generally speaking, the thinner the tomatoes are sliced, the crisper they’ll be when fried. If you slice them too thick, they’ll turn out soft and mushy.

Mix together the buttermilk and egg. Place the tomato slices in the mixture.

In a large bag, place flour and/or corn meal. Some people like to use all corn meal for fried green tomatoes, but I’ve found that a half corn meal-half flour mixture sticks better. Also, corn meal can get grainy by itself. Add salt, pepper, and other seasonings you’d like to the dry ingredients in the bag. Shake the tomatoes in the bag until they’re well coated.

You’ll need a black iron skillet for frying. Heat the oil (I like peanut oil) over medium to medium-high heat. If you’re using a thermometer, the oil should reach around 360 degrees. Add a few tomatoes at the time – don’t overcrowd. The tomato slices should not touch each other as they cook. Once the tomatoes are brown on one side, turn and brown the other.

Remove to several layers of paper towels to drain. Serve with my homemade sauce recipe, or eat them plain.

*If you like spicy foods like I do, you can also add Cajun seasoning or Creole seasoning to the dry ingredients to give the tomatoes a little kick.

Holle’s Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons mustard

1 tablespoon grated horseradish

garlic salt, to taste

sugar or Splenda, to taste

Mix all ingredients together, making sure sugar has dissolved.