As many of you know, I have a garden full of damn tomatoes. Like totally full. I planted 32 tomato plants and found many rogue ones sprouting up as well. It's a jungle in there. Since I got a late start planting, as many of us did due to heavy rains and cool weather, I didn't have any freshly ripened red tomatoes by mid-July as I normally do. Seeing these huge tomato tentacles with a million unripe tomatoes on them, screaming na-na-na-na-boo-boo, pissed me off. What did I do? I fought back.
I marched my ass out into their territory and, with fists on hips, (silently) said a little, "Screw you. I'm going to eat you now. Even though you're not ready, I am." I plucked a few of those big, hard, green orbs in a huff and turned on my heel and stormed back inside. And with the acquired enemy material, I set off to make some Fried Green Tomatoes with Chipotle Buttermilk Dip.
My husband had never eaten fried green tomatoes until that night. The poor soul grew up in California so had never experienced this southern delight. Truth be told, we northerners didn't partake either, but I had at least eaten them before. Each time I had consumed these gems, I liked them but knew they could be better.
The tartness of the unripe tomato comes out warm and silky after frying. The contrast in textures is unreal - the creamy tomatoes paired with the crunch of the coating is to die for. Add a spicy chipotle buttermilk dip and you're set for an evening of pure southern deliciousness.
So for those of you who still have green tomatoes mocking you from your garden, or are salivating so greatly at the thought that you're planning on donning a ghillie suit and raiding your neighbor's garden, try this out. You won't be disappointed.
Fried Green Tomatoes with Chipotle Buttermilk Dip
Serves 2 for a meal ~or~ 4 for a side
1-1/2 lbs. green tomatoes (4-5 large)
2/3 c. cornmeal
1/3 c. flour
1-1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
2/3 c. buttermilk
2 c. vegetable or peanut oil
3 large chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
1 t. buttermilk
1/2 c. sour cream
pinch Kosher salt
Slice tomatoes 1/4" thick. Place flat on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Cover with another layer of paper towels and let sit 20 minutes. Pat dry.
Meanwhile, zip 1/3 cup cornmeal in a food processor until ground finely. Mix ground cornmeal, cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, whisk 2/3 cup buttermilk and egg.
One at a time, dip a tomato slice in the buttermilk mixture, then in the cornmeal mixture, pressing to adhere. Place on clean baking sheet as you continue with the rest.
Heat oil in large skillet to 350*. Fry the tomato slices in the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan. They will fry about 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. Place on a rack set inside baking sheet. Feel free to place in a warm 200* oven while you fry the rest.
Mix the chipotles, buttermilk, sour cream, and pinch of salt in a small bowl. Thin with additional buttermilk if you'd like.
FGT Recipe adapted from Cook's Country