One of my favorite foods from Savannah.
Do you find it hard to pass up a fried green tomato? Well I do and while visiting in Savannah back in April I saw them on every menu I looked at along with shrimp and grits and pimento cheese .
I grew up eating fried green tomatoes. My dad had the best garden ever and “organic” before most people even though of growing anything without a lot of pesticides. He made his own garlic spray that he would spray on his plants for bugs and he even hooked up a pump in the lake they lived on (after retirement) and use that water to water his garden.
Over the years of our gardening we would grow all types of tomatoes and I could not wait to see the first green tomatoes get big enough to pick and fry and believe me it was hard to pick them knowing in just a few days we would have beautiful vine ripen tomatoes. But, that was never a hard decision for me to make — pick or not pick.
Have you ever had fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese on top? I haven’t either but saw it on some menus in Savannah. I have posted a Fried Green Tomato with Black Eyed Pea Vinaigrette and a Fried Green Tomato with Ravigote Sauce.
Our last lunch in Savannah was at Belford’s and I ordered their BLT Stacked Tomatoes; so I couldn’t resist one more recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes. After making their version I made some changes to the recipe that I came up with. Candied bacon was a little too much and I think the dish needed more salt and not more sweetness. Instead of using a balsamic reduction (glaze) I think just a good balsamic vinegar would be better because it isn’t quite as sweet as the reduction/glaze. And, I didn’t use basil olive oil because I didn’t have any; guess you could infuse some basil into the oil or even chop up a few leaves in the oil before drizzle over tomatoes/plate.
You pretty much have to deconstruct this salad to eat it, but it is a beautiful presentation.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: Rainbow Slaw with Pumpkin Seeds is a recipe that I posted back in 2010. It would be a great side dish for any cookout this summer.
BLT — bacon, lettuce and tomatoes.
Make your pickled onions — these are very easy. See this site (http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-quickpickled-red-onions-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-193247)
I sprinkled the bacon with some chopped rosemary and a little brown sugar. I think the brown sugar made the whole dish too sweet. See notes below. Next time I will just fry or bake a thick sliced applewood bacon.
Mix up the Black Pepper Buttermilk Dressing. This gets served on the side of the stacked tomatoes. Use as much as you want.
I used a coating of Panko, plain flour, and cornmeal. They were dipped first in a little egg/buttermilk mixture and then coated with crumbs and fried in oil until tender and brown.
To plate, put a little of the lettuce on plate, top with one tomato slice, then 1-2 half slices of bacon, a little pickled red onion, a drizzle of the balsamic and olive oil, then do this again with two more slices of tomatoes, making your stack 3 tomatoes high.
Finish dish with a little olive oil and balsamic drizzled around the edge of the plate. Serve with the Peppered Buttermilk Dressing on the side.
My expert taster gave this a tumble up. I had to interrupt his pool time to get him to be my taste tester. His comment was “too sweet” on the bacon, so when I do this again I will simply bake or fry the bacon. The balsamic is sweet enough without adding sugar to the bacon like Belford’s did.
- Green tomatoes, sliced about 1/2" thick
- 1 lb. thick sliced Bacon, fried (or candied)*
- frisee lettuce or spring greens
- Pickled red onions (see below)
- balsamic glaze or a good balsamic vinegar
- basil oil, optional (or use plain oil with some basil chopped up in it.
- Black Pepper Buttermilk Dressing
- 1/3 c. Panko bread crumbs
- 1/3 c. plain cornmeal
- 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1/2 c. buttermilk
- 2 scallions, white and green parts minced
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 3/4 c. rice vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Additional seasoning, 1 clove garlic, 5 black peppercorns, sprig of thyme, OR small dried chili
- Combine everything but the buttermilk and seasoning and mix well. Whisk in the buttermilk until the dressing is smooth. Season to taste.
- For the pickled red onions, put the sliced red onions in a colander and pour 3 cups of boiling water over the onions. Dissolve the sugar and salt in the container you will be storing the onions in and add in the vinegar and any of the additional seasonings you want. Place the drained onions into the jar and stir to evenly distribute the flavorings. Onions will be ready in about 30 minutes, but better after a few hours. Store in the refrigerator. Will keep several weeks.
- For the bacon: If you decide to candied it, sprinkle a little brown sugar and some chopped rosemary over the bacon slices and bake at 350° for about 20 minutes. (I had a hard time getting the bacon crisp with all that sugar on it. Next time I will skip the sugar all together and just bake or fry the bacon.
- Tomatoes: Put the Panko, cornmeal and flour in a bowl and stir to blend. Mix the egg and buttermilk in a bowl and whisk until it is combined. Cut tomatoes in 1/2" slices and dip in egg/milk mixture then in the crumbs to coat. Heat oil in skillet and fry your tomatoes until tender when pierced with a fork and nice and brown.
- To assemble: Put a few pieces of your lettuce on a salad plate, top with one fried green tomato slice, a few strands of pickled red onions, 1-2 half slices of bacon, then a drizzle of balsamic and a drizzle of olive oil, repeat two more times. You will have 3 slices of tomato for each stack.
- Serve the Peppered Buttermilk Dressing on the side.
- This would make a nice luncheon item for anyone who loves fried green tomatoes, or do a smaller version as a salad or side dish.
- The site for the pickled red onions is http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-quickpickled-red-onions-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-193247
- On the coating -- my mother would either use cornmeal or flour on her green tomatoes so you can coat the tomatoes with your favorite coating.