June 25, 2013

You say tomAto, I say tomAHto...

I was home visiting my family and was freshly out of culinary school.  I mean green. I hadn't really worked in kitchens yet other than as a stagiaire or "stage", which is an intern (read: free labor).

I'm not really sure where the brilliant idea came from, but I had it in my head to make fried green tomatoes.  Keep in mind, I'd never eaten them nor made them but off I went to gather green tomatoes and make them.  I had no reference point, so I didn't know how thick or thin to cut the slices.

So, I took to the kitchen with my tomatoes in hand and proceeded to make what one could only technically  classify as fried green tomatoes.  They were tomatoes.  They were green. And they had been fried.  Looking back at the first attempt to reach beyond my comfort zone, so full of enthusiasm, as all new culinary grads are, I wince at what I made.  Thankfully, I've gotten a handle on it now.

I still struggle with failure as I'm sure we all do.  I don't want to look stupid or fail at something. 
But, isn't that how we learn and grow?  Our failures tend to teach us more than our successes in my experience.
I'm learning to let go of that a little, although I'll be the first to admit that my competitive spirit will never disappear and the fear of embarrassing myself in front of people is still quite real. 
With that, I give you the following recipe... southerners need not correct me.  I'm sure you make it better.

Fried Green Tomatoes
4 - 5 green tomatoes, cut into 1/4" rounds
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 - 2 cups breadcrumbs (any kind you have on hand)
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch paprika
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
oil for frying
optional: dried herbs

Combine flour, garlic powder, cayenne and paprika in a shallow dish and whisk together. Set aside.

In a separate dish, whisk eggs and buttermilk together.

In a third dish (it will be worth the dirty dishes, I promise) combine breadcrumbs with a little salt and pepper and any dried herbs if you are using.  I throw in about a tablespoon of dried oregano or thyme if I don't have seasoned breadcrumbs.

Lightly season tomatoes on both sides with salt and pepper.  Dredge through flour mixture, shaking off any excess.  Then dip into egg mixture and coat with seasoned breadcrumbs.

This next step most people find annoying, but I have found it essential.  Place on a cooling rack and let it rest for about 15 - 20 minutes.  This allows your coating to adhere to the tomatoes.  I do this when coating anything I am going to fry.  You know how disappointing it is when your breading falls off in the pan or as soon as you cut into it?  Let it rest beforehand and that will be a thing of the past.

After the tomatoes have hung out and gotten acquainted with each other, it's time to fry.
Heat a large skillet with enough oil to go about 1/4 inch up the side.   Heat oil on medium high heat (350 degrees with a thermometer) and carefully slide tomatoes slices into the oil, dropping them in away from you, not toward you.  If the oil splashes, it will not splatter you, but the back of the stove.

Fry until GBD (Golden Brown Delicious), remove and place on a bed of paper towels to absorb excess oil.    
Serve immediately.

No comments:

Post a Comment