My last visit to James Beard’s winning restaurant, Yardbirds in Las Vegas, a southern-style cooking venue featuring a fried green tomato appetizer, is the inspiration for this post. The fresh tart tomatoes are the perfect taste of summer and a dish I have had on menus throughout my career. It’s easy and delicious.
While I don’t have the exact recipe they use, I’ve made it easier for the home cook by substituting the smoked pork belly with bacon. You can use this to make a great vegetarian sandwich by omitting the bacon. A fried green tomato sandwich is deeply satisfying, along with a big slice of kosher pickle.
FRIED GREEN TOMATO BLT
- cutting board
- chef knife
- large saute pan
- measuring cups and spoons
- ½ cup oil, vegetable
- 1 cup flour, AP
- 1 tbsp garlic, powdered or granulated
- ½ tsp cayenne, ground
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- 1 tsp black pepper or to taste
- ½ cup cornflour or cornmeal
- ½ cup bread crumbs or panko
- 2 whole eggs, beaten
- ½ cup milk or buttermilk
- ½ cup pimento cheese
- ⅓ cup tomato jam
- 1 tbsp scallions or microgreens
- Slice the green tomatoes to approximately ¼ inch thick.
- Preheat a large skillet or sauté pan with enough oil to fry the tomatoes. (cover the bottom of the pan). Raise the temperature to between 325°-350°F.
- Prepare three dishes to contain the tomato/egg wash, seasoned flour, cornmeal/bread crumbs.
- In the first dish, two beaten eggs and ½ cup of milk/buttermilk and mix thoroughly.
- Next, in the second dish, make the seasoned flour. Mix the all-purpose flour, garlic, pepper, cayenne, and salt.
- In the third dish, add the cornmeal flour and the bread crumbs. Mix thoroughly.
- Check to see if the oil in the skillet or sauté pan is hot by dropping a small amount of flour or bread crumbs into the oil. The flour or bread crumbs should start bubbling right away. If not, increase the temperature.
- Using your hands, dip the tomatoes into the first dish containing the (egg-milk) wash. Next, dip them into the second dish containing the seasoned flour. Shake off the excess.
- Next, dip the flour-coated tomato slice and dip it back into the (egg-milk) wash. Then, do a final coating with the third dish containing the dry breadcrumbs and cornmeal. Be sure to coat the entire tomato with the mixture (using both hands). Then gently add to the oil in the skillet or sauté pan.
- Repeat the tomato coating process until the skillet pan is just full of the cooking tomatoes. With a metal or high heat rubber spatula, check the doneness of the underside of the tomato slices often. When golden brown, use tongs or a spatula and gently turn them over to cook the other side.
- As the tomato slices come out of the oil, rest them on a wire cooling rack. Once you've cooked all the tomatoes, keep them warm until you are ready to serve. You can assemble them straight away or keep them warm in an oven set to its lowest temperature.
- To assemble: On an appetizer plate, add one slice of fried green tomato and top with 1 tsp (or enough to cover the fried green tomato) of pimento cheese. Next, stack another slice of tomato and repeat the pimento cheese until you have three layers of fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese.
- Add the trimmed, cooked bacon slices or cooked pork belly. Top the bacon layer with about 1 tbsp of the Tomato Jam. Garnish with sliced scallions/chives or microgreens.
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