recipe revisited : fried green tomatoes

Nothing (to me) says market-fresh-produce like green tomatoes.  I’ve often mistaken green versions of ripe, ready-to-be-eaten-raw tomatoes for these elusive beauties – much to my disappointment.

But while I love a classic plate of FGTs piled high, I have a notoriously hard time following other people’s recipes.  So in the spirit of “improving” a classic, I recently served up an end-of-summer FG’BLT at my folk’s beachside diggs.  However, this evening, (going solo) I wasn’t quite craving the “oof” factor of this gut-greasing treat.  So I invented a much healthier (and might I add – just as, if not more, delicious) way to revisit the luscious acidity of FGTs without frying them up in a bottom-of-pan pool of bacon grease.

Fried Green Tomatoes (Two Ways):

End-of-summer FG’BLTs (Fried Green Bacon-Lettuce-Tomato Sandwiches)

  • green tomatoes (ideally market-fresh)
  • cornmeal
  • bread (I like a crusty, slice-it-yourself sourdough boule or a dark hearty grain)
  • bacon (I went for hickory-smoked organic)
  • butter lettuce (I chose this because it’s got a nice crunch – and more flavor than romaine – but less bitterness/spice than arugula, for example)
  • herb mayo (try this home-made version, or you can use store mayo with garden herbs snipped and mixed in.  My mother put the kabosh on my dreams of home-made mayo, so I just added a little extra virgin olive oil, lemon, sage, parsley and fresh thyme to Helman’s.  But the home-made would taste much better – and be better for you!)
If you are making homemade mayo, I would suggest doing that in advance (not simultaneously)
1. Heat up a fry pan and cook the bacon, nice and crisp.  Simultaneously wash and cut the GTs into slices (half-inch is a good thickness).
2. Lay out crisped bacon on a plate w/paper towel to cool.
3. Pour off some of the bacon grease into the trash or a jar to keep for later.  Leave just a half-centimeter, tops, to fry up the tomatoes.
4. Quickly bread the GTs in cornmeal (no egg, milk, or other “wash” needed) and place carefully in pan.
5. Keeping an eye on the (not quite fried) GTs, wash/dry your butter lettuce,slice/toast your bread, make store-bought mayo mix (if not going for the homemade).
6. Cook the GTs until crispy golden-brown on each side.
7. Prepare the sandwich to your liking!  If it’s not salty enough for you with the bacon, fleur de sel or another high-quality sea salt is a nice finish.
I recommend eating it closed-faced, as open can be a bit messy… (FGTs are slippery suckers!)

BGTs – Baked Green Tomatoes

  • green tomatoes
  • golden flaxseed meal (this provides more health benefits than cornmeal)
  • olive oil 
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Oil a baking sheet lightly with olive oil.
2. Wash and slice your GTs (half-inch slices are a good thickness).  Bread with flaxseed meal (no egg/milk wash needed) and place slices on baking sheet.
3. If you have a spray olive oil, this is a great time to use it to “spritz” the tomatoes.  Otherwise, block the top of your olive oil holder with your finder and just splash a little oil over each tomato.  Also, toss some high-quality sea salt on the tomatoes.  I like grey sea salt from Brittany.

My finished meal! BGTs served with a raw celery-parsley-soynut-parmesan salad (dressed with lemon) and a few olives. As we say in French, "miam"!

4. Bake for 20-or-so minutes, and turn to broil if you want them really crispy/almost blackened.

5. Serve plain – or however you like!
I have to say, I actually found the BGTs far more tasty than the FGTs.  The slow-roasting method really brought out their flavor – and the flaxseed meal was absolutely delicious.  A true recipe redo success!  Never ceases to amaze me how “healthy” can taste this good…
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