If you’re like me, you probably still have lots of green tomatoes in your garden that aren’t going to have enough time to ripen. (Those recent frosty 32F nights can’t be doing our gardens any good.) But don’t despair! Unripe green tomatoes have a taste and texture very similar to Granny Smith apples, which means that you can use them to make apple-centric dishes like pies and cobblers.
Another bonus: their sturdy crispness also makes green tomatoes ideal candidates for breading and frying. I opted to coat these with a combination of Parmesan and cornmeal, but almond or hazelnut flour would be delicious, too. And/or you could include some dried herbs in your coating mix. Just be sure to cut your tomatoes into uniform slices about 1/4″ thick so that they’ll cook quickly and evenly. (Unlike ripe, juicy tomatoes, green tomatoes are fantastically firm and easy to slice.)
Fried Green Tomatoes
Crack an egg (preferably from pastured hens) into a shallow bowl and scramble lightly with a fork. In another bowl, mix together equal amounts of Parmesan and cornmeal* spiked with a few grinds of freshly cracked peppercorns. Cut green tomatoes into 1/4″-thick slices. Dip into egg and shake the tomato slice to encourage any excess egg to drip off. Dip slice into Parmesan-cornmeal blend and gently press the coating onto both sides of the slice. Place on a large plate. Repeat with all tomato slices.
Heat a pat of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. As soon as the butter melts and starts to bubble, add coated tomato slices. Don’t overcrowd the pan! You can always make a second and third batch, wiping out the pan with a paper towel and adding a fresh pat of butter for each round.
Sauté the tomatoes for 3 to 4 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Gently flip over each slice and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until both sides are golden brown. You can serve your fried green tomatoes immediately or stash them in the fridge for up to 4 days. I enjoyed half of mine as soon as I made them and then had the other half for lunch the next day.
* You’ll often see cornmeal marked as “degerminated.” While that sounds like a good thing, it isn’t — most of the nutrients of any given grain reside in the germ, which means that grains with their germs removed are markedly less nutritious than whole, intact grains. Opt for non-degerminated cornmeal. (And from a sheer culinary perspective, most of the flavor resides in the germ, too. Degerminated cornmeal tastes like chalk.)