Let’s face it. Some of these green beauties will never ripen. Don’t despair because I’ve got a wonderful way to use them, even ones that are partially ripe. Leave it to the Italians to come up with the perfect pairing of fried green tomatoes with goat cheese on a bed of baby lettuces and fennel fronds. This is a long way from Fannie Flagg and the Whistle Stop Cafe.
But first let me introduce you to the fried green tomato’s new best friend, Bainbridge Brie, brought to you by the folks at Port Madison Farm. I picked up some at the University Farmers Market last weekend. It is sweet and delicate like their basic chevre but creamier like brie. I can’t wait to try it in my straight-from-the-garden pasta sauce.
I even put together some wonderful little hors d’oeuvres using some fried green roma tomatoes, ripe red tomatoes and Bainbridge Brie. Actually, ripe red tomatoes partner so well with their green siblings that when I ate the salad above, I added several juicy red slices to the mix.
Even fry-phobic cooks like me can make decent fried green tomatoes. Most recipes seem to agree that you use some sort of breading. I made some bread crumbs in the food processor using Spelt Sourdough from Tall Grass Bakery also from the University Farmers Market. I was happy with the results but it would be fun to try panko, cornmeal or even semolina.
You can figure at least 1 green tomato per person depending on the size of your tomatoes. Cut tomatoes in slices, salt & pepper then let them sit for a few minutes before using.
Put about 1/2 inch olive oil in a heavy skillet and let it get hot before you start frying.
Dip each slice first in flour (I used rice flour but all-purpose is fine), then in egg that has been whisked with 1 T milk and finally in breadcrumbs.
Using tongs, fry the tomatoes in batches, about 3 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown. When both sides are brown, place them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Arrange on a bed of lettuces and fennel fronds, add a slice or two of ripe red tomatoes and top off with goat cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, salt & pepper to taste.
My inspiration came from the magazine, La Cucina Italiana, the September/October 2008 issue — pomodori fritti con caprino.