Sunday, June 27, 2010

Oven Fried Green Tomatoes

I  don't know who the first person was that decided that they just couldn't wait another minute for summer's first ripe tomato and subsequently dipped the tart tomatoes in breading before frying but, I confess, I've always thought this person was a genius.  Of course, it is more likely that cooking unripe tomatoes arrived as an invention of necessity but whatever it was, I admire and salute the ingenuity. 

In my now cleaner lifestyle, fried tomatoes only make it to my plate on a rare occasion that I find myself in a Southern restaurant that knows how to properly cook up nature's bounty in bacon drippings.  At home, I've developed this oven-fried recipe that hits the spot without causing one to loosen his belt. 


2  large, firm, green tomatoes (approx 8 ounces each)
½ cup whole kernal cornmeal (not degermed)
½ cup all purpose flour
½ cup cracker meal (or low sodium saltines crushed up)
1 tablespoon Old Bay® Seasoning
fresh ground peppercorns, to taste (I use 1/4 tsp)
1 cup milk*
1 egg, beaten*
1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for brusing/ misting

* Cultured buttermilk makes a nice wash and provides an extra bite of flavor; is you use buttermilk, eliminate egg and milk altogether.


2 wide, shallow pans, I like to use two 10" cake pans
1 heavy-duty baking pan or jelly roll pan
heavy duty aluminum foil
oil mister or silicone pastry brush

1 - Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In the first shallow pan, create a wash by mixing together milk and egg.

2 - In the other pan, combine corn meal, flour, cracker meal, old bay and pepper.

3 - Prepare jelly roll pan by covering with foil and brushing with one tablespoon of olive oil.

4 - Slice tomatoes into 1/8-1/4" slices (thinner is better). You will need to cut the top part of the core out of the first slice from the top of the fruit.

5 - Place sliced tomatoes, 4-5 at a time, into wash. Pulling one piece out at a time, shake excess wash off of it and place it into dry breading mixture. Shake excess bre2ading back into pan and place breaded slice onto prepared jelly roll pan. Continue this process until each tomato has been coated.

6 - Brush the top of each tomato with olive oil or use mister to apply a light coat.

7 - Bake in oven for ten minutes and remove from oven. Using a turner, flip each slice over and return pan to oven for for another 8-10 minutes or until coating is crisp and fruit is tender. Serve immediately.

* Nutritional information created using ingredient compilation program and is based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Date is close but not exact.

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