Classic Southern fried green tomatoes are made with tart, unripe green tomatoes, but I don’t see why you can’t use these beautiful green heirlooms. Just be sure to find firm ones so they won’t get mushy when you cook them.
They aren’t the most photogenic food in the world, I admit, but boy are they tasty. And it’s good to know how to fix them for yourself, because you sure won’t find them on many menus outside of the true South.
Fried Green Tomatoes with Saffron Aioli
serves 4 as a side dish
2 or 3 large, firm, green heirloom tomatoes
1/2 cup corn meal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1 cup buttermilk
olive oil for frying
- Slice the tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick.
- Whisk the cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper, cayenne and paprika together in a pie tin or dish.
- Put the buttermilk in another pie tin or dish.
- Heat about a 1/4 inch of olive oil in a cast iron skillet.
- Dip the tomato slices in the buttermilk, then dredge them in the flour mixutre, coating all surfaces. Drop into the hot oil and fry until golden on both sides. Flip them carefully.
- Serve immediately with Saffron Aioli
1/2 cup mayonnaise (homemade is best!)
a good pinch of saffron threads, crushed
juice of 1/2 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
- Crush the saffron threads between your fingers and mix them into the mayo, along with the lemon juice and zest. Season with a little salt and then let it sit for about an hour. This allows the saffron to dissolve into the mayonnaise and release its color and flavor into the sauce. Mix again, and serve or store in the refrigerator.
Eat them alongside eggs, bacon and grits for breakfast, or just on their own as an appetizer. The Saffron Aioli adds a colorful touch. My Lemonnaise would be great with these, too.