As I’ve said before, living in the South for a few years turned me on to some new foods that I’ve now come to realize I can’t live without. Fried green tomatoes falls into that category. And, because I’m a piglet, whenever I make a batch, I usually make a really fattening dip or vinaigrette to smear on them, and, when I’m feeling extra oink-ish (read: almost always), I scrounge around to see if there is anything else around the house I should fry up. Onion rings, pickles, zucchini, what have you. With the blue cheese dressing, you can use it for a dip, a spread for sandwiches, or for topping a nice wedge of iceburg lettuce with some juicy tomatoes and cooked bacon. As for the fancy-schmancy basil oil, my basil plant is growing like crazy and I have been making anything I can with it. I thought this oil seemed pretty versatile, and I liked how it looked pretty on my plate. Totally feel free to ignore this part of the recipe should you so choose.
Fried Green Tomatoes with Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dressing
Makes enough for about 4 appetizer portions of 3 tomato slices each
- 3 decent sized green tomatoes
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 cup AP flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- vegetable oil
- Blue Cheese Dressing (recipe below)
- Basil Oil, optional (recipe below)
Slice tomatoes into about 1/4-1/3 inch slices. Put into shallow dish and cover with buttermilk. (You may not need all the buttermilk, or you may need a little more depending on size of your pan – you just want to make sure the tomatoes are pretty much covered with buttermilk.) Let soak at least 10 minutes.
Mix flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper in shallow dish. Set up breading station: Tomato/butttermilk dish, next to it seasoned flour, next to that parchment (or wax) paper lined sheet pan or plate.
Add vegetable oil to a heavy skillet (I use a cast iron pan). I add enough oil so that it is about 1/2 – 1/3 inch deep. Heat on medium until oil reaches 350-360 degrees.
Bread tomatoes. Remove tomato slice from buttermilk and shake off excess liquid. Dredge in seasoned flour and shake off any excess. Set on pan. Continue until all tomatoes have been breaded.
Start frying tomatoes. Depending on size of your pan, add 4-6 tomatoes to pan, but don’t over crowd. Let brown on one side for about 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn with tongs (be careful to not let grease splatter!) and let brown on the other side another 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan with tongs, holding each tomato on end over the pot for a few seconds to allow extra grease to drip off. Set on paper towel lined plate or pan. Lightly season with salt. Continue this way until all tomatoes have been fried.
Serve with blue cheese dressing and a drizzle of basil oil.
Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dresssing
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 1 clove garlic, minced into a paste
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
- Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients except blue cheese in small bowl. Whisk until smooth. Stir in crumbled blue cheese. You will have leftover dressing to use in other things. It should keep in the fridge for one week.
- About 2 cups packed basil leaves
- 3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
- pinch of salt
Blanch basil: Bring a small pot of water to boil. Set up a small bowl with ice water. Add basil leaves all at once to the boiling pot of water. Let blanch for about 15 seconds. Immediately transfer basil, using a slotted spoon or tongs, to the bowl of ice water. Once cooled, drain and very gently squeeze excess water from basil. Set on paper towels to finish draining.
In a blender, add the oil and salt. While the machine is running, add half the basil and process quickly. Once pureed/incorporated, add remaining basil.
When not using oil, keep stored in fridge, but bring to room temp when getting ready to use. It should keep in the fridge for about one week.