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Fried green tomatoes with polenta crust

Weekend Herb BloggingSteve suggested last week that we make fried green tomatoes out of what we could salvage off the soon-to-die Jetstar tomato plant, and I was all in favor of that.

Problem is, I’d never actually made fried green tomatoes, and even though I knew they (obviously) had to be green, I was afraid the tomatoes we had might be a little too green.

Before cookingStill, with about six medium-sized green tomatoes leftover from the carnage, it was worth a try. I dug around for instructions, and found inspiration in The Joy of Cooking, which had a good basic recipe from which to work. Not even my great vegetarian cookbook had a recipe for these tasty treats, which surprised me.

The recipe recommended a mix of four parts finely ground cornmeal to one part flour, but all I had on hand was some fabulous polenta that Steve’s Mom gave me. With no time to go to the store, I recruited the polenta for the dish, and mixed in some kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, the flour, and some dried basil, which I figured would hold up better to the frying process than the fresh stuff.

During cookingI soaked each tomato slice in skim milk before dredging it in the polenta mixture, and, per the recipe’s suggestions, finished all the slices before starting to fry the tomatoes up in the oil. I just used regular canola oil for the frying—olive oil has too low of a smoke point for this purpose, and I wanted a clean flavor that wouldn’t interfere with the crust.

I’m not a patient girl, and always have trouble leaving food alone long enough for it to truly brown before I flip it, but I managed to keep my hands off the spatula this time around, resulting in fabulous, crispy brown slices of fried green tomato. Apparently, the tomatoes were just at the right point for frying, because they were creamy inside. A sprinkle of salt was all they needed, and we washed them down with a microbrewed ale.

After cookingFried Green Tomatoes with Polenta Crust

Five to six green tomatoes
Approximately 2 cups polenta
Approximately 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
(Adjust amounts depending on how many tomatoes you have, but the proportion should be four parts polenta to one part flour)
1 Tbsp. dried basil
A generous pinch of kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 c. skim milk
Canola oil for frying
Additional salt to taste

Slice the tomatoes approximately 1/2-inch thick. Mix the polenta, flour, basil, salt and pepper together in one bowl, and pour the milk into another. Dredge each slice of tomato through the milk, then through the polenta mixture, then stack them carefully on a plate. Pour oil about a quarter-inch deep in a cast-iron skillet (any heavy-duty skillet will do) and heat until a drop of water added to the oil sizzles. Cook the tomatoes in a single layer, as many as will fit into the pan, until brown on one side, then turn and cook until brown on the other side. Remove from the oil and drain on a plate lined with paper towel. Continue until all the tomatoes are cooked, adding oil to the pan if necessary.

This post is part of Weekend Herb Blogging, which is being hosted this week by Gabriella of My Life as a Reluctant Housewife. Thanks, Gabriella, for putting the round-up together!

16 Comments on “Fried green tomatoes with polenta crust”

  1. #1 rachelle
    on Jul 9th, 2006 at 11:53 am

    yum! they look great!

  2. #2 rachelle
    on Jul 9th, 2006 at 12:08 pm

    yum they look great. i will have to try the recipe. ive got some green zebra tomatoes that might be great with their tangy flavour.

  3. #3 Gabriella True
    on Jul 9th, 2006 at 3:01 pm

    too wonderful. I am really quite hungry now. Thanks for all the tips.

  4. #4 inadvertentgardener
    on Jul 9th, 2006 at 5:09 pm

    Rachelle, I bet those zebras would be fabulous fixed like this.

    Gabriella, yeah, putting together those round-ups would be enough to make anyone’s mouth water! Thanks for including me this week.

    :-) Genie

  5. #5 bloglily
    on Jul 9th, 2006 at 11:16 pm

    Oh so lovely. And your new header — those wonderful green tomatoes — is great!

  6. #6 Beverly
    on Jul 9th, 2006 at 11:36 pm

    Yumm! Fried green tomatoes are my favorite. My grandma would always make me some when I was a little girl.

  7. #7 sher
    on Jul 10th, 2006 at 2:25 am

    That did it!! I’ve been planning on making some fried green tomatoes. Yours look fabulous.

  8. #8 kalyn
    on Jul 10th, 2006 at 7:30 am

    They sound delicious. I haven’t made fried green tomatoes, but I had some good ones once at a restaurant in Atlanta.

    Love the new blog header.

  9. #9 steven
    on Jul 10th, 2006 at 9:17 am

    mmmmm fried green tomatoes!

  10. #10 Random Yak
    on Jul 10th, 2006 at 11:40 am

    Showcase Carnival: Holiday Survivor Edition…

    Given that last week contained not only a holiday but a Tuesday holiday, it appears not many new blogs managed to outplay, outwit and outlast the temptation to take a few days off and enjoy the summer.That, of course, means that today’s…

  11. #11 inadvertentgardener
    on Jul 10th, 2006 at 11:58 pm

    Bloglily and Kalyn, I’m glad you guys like the header! There are variations to come…I’m really pleased with it.

    Beverly and Sher, you should definitely make some of your own — now that I’ve made some this season, I’m an evangelist. They were so tasty.

    Steven, truly, it was the only good thing to come out of the tomato-moving experience! Hopefully we’ll get some rebound action and some real, ripe tomatoes, though.

  12. #12 popeyemoon
    on Jul 11th, 2006 at 1:06 pm

    If there is a hint of red just let them ripen on a window sill . They must be green throughout or they will be soggy and fall apart .

  13. #13 inadvertentgardener
    on Jul 11th, 2006 at 11:02 pm

    Popeyemoon, I was surprised at how well they turned out, considering they practically squeaked when I sliced them. Now I know…green means green when frying tomatoes is the subject.

  14. #14 The Inadvertent Gardener
    on Sep 1st, 2006 at 6:07 am

    [...] For the first half of July, it seemed like all I did was fry things out of the garden. Fried green tomatoes. Fried green tomatoes made into sandwiches. And in June, I’d already fried up sage leaves in butter. [...]

  15. #15 Green Thumb Sunday VII « Smart Tart
    on Jul 22nd, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    [...] honor the housemate’s departure, we decided to make fried green tomatoes with the beefsteak, and green tomato fritters with a bunch of chopped up green cherry tomatoes. We [...]

  16. #16 How to become a fried green tomato « The Inadvertent Gardener
    on Jul 23rd, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    [...] bag, just to see if they’ll actually ripen. The third? It’s the perfect size and shape for fried and green, and it has a cast iron skillet with its name on [...]

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