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  • Therese Nugent

Fried Green Tomatoes

Mike’s tomato plants are in and growing quite nicely, especially the cherry and

pear varieties. Hopefully this year’s crop will continue to be bountiful, as I can’t imagine

we’ll ever tire of enjoying homegrown tomatoes. Normally, I wouldn’t be talking about

green tomatoes this early in the season, but having just been gifted with a neighbor’s

unripened crop, I decided to give fried green tomatoes a try.


Picked before ripe or once it’s too cool for them to ripen, green tomatoes have a

very firm texture that can stand up to frying. It starts with the width of the slice: an expert

chef swears by 3/8 th of an inch. Any thinner and you’ll produce the soggy variety you’re

avoiding at all costs.

Secondly, you need to saturate the sliced tomatoes in a buttermilk

and hot sauce mixture for at least an hour—the longer the better.


Although a simple cornmeal dredge is adequate for most vegetables, because of

the high-water content in tomatoes, you’ll want to add some cornstarch to the mix for a

crackly crust. The buttermilk and cornstarch mixture will form like glass when the tomato

slices hit the hot oil. Speaking of oil, start the frying on medium-high heat and, once the

slices start to sizzle, turn down the heat to medium. As they brown, flip the slices in the

order you dropped them in the pan, not more than three minutes each side to preserve the

tomato’s firmness and avoid the soggy mess.


Some seasons all you’ve got in your garden are firm and flavorless green

tomatoes. What better way to enjoy than salting, saturating, and sizzling. And if Mike’s

tomato plants disappoint, at least I know what to do with the green ones.


____________________________________________________


Serve up with a bold dash of hot sauce and buttermilk dressing alongside.


Fried Green Tomatoes

Serves 4


1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce

3 lb. green tomatoes

1 cup find-grind white cornmeal

1 cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups vegetable oil for frying


1. In a shallow bowl, combine the buttermilk and pepper sauce and set aside.


2. Core the tomatoes and slice off the very top and bottom of the tomato. Makes

slices 3/8-inch thick. Coat the slices in the buttermilk mixture; cover with plastic

wrap and refrigerate an hour before frying.


3. In a shallow bowl, combine the cornmeal, cornstarch, cayenne pepper and salt.

Dredge the slices in the cornmeal mixture liberally coating each side.


4. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until a few cornmeal

grains sizzle when dropped in the oil.


5. Fry the slices in batches until deeply golden, approximately 3 minutes per side.

Transfer the tomatoes to a baking sheet lined with paper towel and allow to drain

briefly. Serve hot.


Enjoy!

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