Tuesday, September 16, 2008

49. Crunchy Fried Green Tomatoes (p. 585)

When my sister-in-law gave us some green tomatoes from her garden, both my wife and I immediately had the same thought: Fried Green Tomoatoes. She, of course, had in mind a recipe like this one inspired by Fannie Flagg's book Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and the movie that followed. I was, of course thinking of this recipe* from The Book.

The Whistle Stop recipe and the Gourmet recipe are similar in that both start out with sliced green tomoatoes. That's where the similarities end. The Whistle Stop tomatoes are coated in a thick milk, flour and cornmeal batter and are deep fried in two inches of hot oil. The Gourmet tomatoes, on the other hand, are lightly dredged in a mixture of flour, salt, sugar and cayenne pepper, then dipped in a mixture of egg and milk, and finally coated with a crust of crushed Corn Flakes before being pan fried in just the slightest amount of oil.

I was a little suspicuous of the Corn Flake step, since it gave the recipe the look and feel of the kind of recipe that you find on the side of a package of processed food or in the Sunday paper cupon circular. Don't get me wrong, sometimes these recipes can be great. For example, you can't do much better than the Toll House Cookie recipe on a package of Nestle chocolate chips, and I've been making the pie recipe on the canned pumpkin label for Thanksgiving ever year for as long as I can remeber. But, generally speaking, recipes printed on processed food packaging are usually not haute cuisine. Case in point: any recipe ever printed on a Cool Whip container. All I'm saying is that "corn flakes" is not an ingredient I expected to find in a Gourmet recipe.

That said, I thought that these fried green tomatoes were excellent. True to their name, these tomatoes were crunchy. And the healthy amount of cayenne mixed into the dredging flour gave them a nice bit of heat that I wasn't expecting. I was really impressed that the crust stayed on through cooking, despite the flipping, and the transferring from pan to tray to plate. They stayed wonderfully intact. I really liked the fact that they weren't drowned in a thick batter and deep fried beyond recognition. My wife, I think, was a little dissapointed, but only because she had it in her mind that I was making a more traditional battered version. The tomatoes themselves were cooked through, but still firm, and they had that nice sour tang that is unique to green tomatoes.

I was also pretty impressed that the leftovers reheated well in the microwave and still retained most of their crunch.

Date Cooked: September 1, 2008
Degree of Difficulty: Medium
Rating: A

* As Teena noted, the recipe on epicurious.com uses more oil than the one in The Book. Also the tomato salsa accompaniment on the epicurious recipe is omitted from The Book. (A wise choice in my opinion. Tomatoes with a side of tomatoes?)


Kiki said...

All I'm saying is that when you're six months pregnant, you tend to fixate on things and I was a little fixated on the Fannie Flag version. These were good, just not what I was craving :(

CECIL said...

Hello, come across your blog and hmm..I love fried green tomatoes!! Unfortunately, here in Toronto, it seems like it is hard to come by in restaurant, like the way it is in Kentucky. So I guess one of these days, I got to fry a batch of it myself! The cornflakes part sounds interesting! The fact that it retains its crunchiness..two thumbs up!!