This dish was inspired by my last visit to James Beard’s winning restaurant, Yardbirds in Las Vegas, a southern style cooking venue featuring a fried green tomato appetizer. 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. It is deeply satisfying as a sandwich, along with a big slice of kosher pickle.
Fried Green Tomato and Pimento Cheese Stack
This makes a great savory appetizer and a fantastic vegetarian sandwich, just leave out the bacon.
- 1/2 cup oil, vegetable
- 1 cup flour, AP
- 1 tbsp garlic, powdered or granulated
- 1/2 tsp cayenne, ground
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- 1 tsp black pepper or to taste
- 1/2 cup corn flour or cornmeal
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs or panko
- 2 whole eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
- 1/2 cup pimento cheese
- 1/3 cup tomato jam
- 1 tbsp scallions or micro greens
Slice the green tomatoes to approximately 1/4 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 degrees.
Prepare three dishes to contain the tomato/egg wash, seasoned flour and the cornmeal/bread crumbs.
In the first dish, add the sliced green tomato, two beaten eggs and 1/2 cup of milk/buttermilk.
In the second dish, add the AP flour, powdered garlic, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir the ingredients to mix well.
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.
With one hand, take the soaking tomato slices and place in the flour mixture. With the other hand, help cover the tomato slice slice with the seasoning mix. Once the tomato is completely covered with the flour mixture, return the sliced tomato to the first dish (containing the egg/milk mixture).
Once the tomato has had a second dip in the egg/milk mixture, 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 they are 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 cooling rack or in a single layer on a large dinner plate. Once all the tomatoes are cooked they will be hot for about 8-10 minutes. 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. Stack another slice of tomato and repeat with the pimento cheese until you have three slices 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 micro greens.