Dirt to Table Experience: Fried Green Tomatoes with a Buttermilk Dipping Sauce

PUBLISHED ON: 07.07.2013

The first time that I had ever heard the words “Fried Green Tomatoes” was the title of the 1991 movie that I absolutely loved.  This was the beginning of my point of reference.  My mind opens and begins to expand around this often viewed southern dish (which is served up in northern states too).

Fast forward twenty-two years that includes a move to the panhandle of Florida, just a few miles shy of the gateway to rural Georgia, and a mere hour from Alabama.  I have a good sized garden to call my own, deep in the South where growing tomatoes is considered to be in your blood (Growing them is not in my blood but, I am striving for the title).

This was the first year with thirty-five heirloom varieties planted that I had my first tomato boom. Forget squashes and eggplant that can be the summer gift that keeps on giving, it was my TOMATOES.  It is a romantic notion that your bounty of vine ripened tomatoes can be enjoyed endlessly.  Fresh tomatoes don’t have a very long shelf life before they take the leap to the process of rotting.

Another leap forward and you are ready to try your hand at fried green tomatoes.  SHUT the FRONT DOOR!  Fresh unripened green tomatoes lightly breaded and fried in a skillet with a shallow oil layer is divine.  Served hot with a buttermilk dipping sauce can make you weep. 
It is a beautiful and simply prepared dish.  Serve it up as an appetizer, side dish, oh what the heck it can be a main dish too, along with a good beer or wine, or a tall glass of southern iced tea.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Serves 4
Recipe from Patrick and Gina Neely

4 Green Tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch rings
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon garlic powder
4 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch paprika
Buttermilk Dipping Sauce, recipe follows
In a deep-fryer, preheat oil to 350 degrees F.  ( Note: I used a skillet )

Season tomatoes on both sides, with salt and pepper.  Place flour and garlic powder in a shallow dish.  In another shallow dish, beat eggs with the milk.  In another shallow dish, mix bread crumbs with cayenne and paprika.  Dredge the tomatoes through the flour, then the eggs, and then through the bread crumbs.  Add only a few pieces to the fryer at a time, so that they can cook evenly, about 2-3 minutes.  Drain on paper towels, and serve with buttermilk dipping sauce.
Buttermilk Dipping Sauce

1 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
1 lime juiced
4 scallions, sliced thin
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the apple cider and brown sugar.  Allow to reduce until thick and syrupy.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a medium bowl add buttermilk, mayonnaise, BBQ sauce and lime juice and whisk well.  Add in the scallions and the apple cider mixture.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve with the fried green tomatoes.


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