The Gleeful Gourmand: A Fried Green Mishap

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Fried Green Mishap

We were fortunate enough when Irene blew through not to lose our power. My parents were not so fortunate, and were without power for a good week. So we invited them over for dinner last Monday night, and in the interest of making something delicious and easy, I decided on BLTs. While in the grocery store, I noticed something new in the stand with the tomatoes. I recognized them right away because of the way they stood out - pale green, and arranged just so. They whispered, “Fry us, fry us!” as I stood looking at them.

Okay, they didn’t, really, but I was so excited to see them - they hadn’t been there all summer. And yet suddenly, gloriously, there they were – Green Tomatoes. Now I’ve never made Fried Green Tomatoes, but I’ve eaten plenty of them, and I also loved the movie (which really doesn’t have much to do with the dish, but that’s okay).

Despite a little trepidation (I also don’t normally fry things in general), I snatched them up, and immediately started hunting for the right recipe. The right recipe turned out to not be so easy. I wasn’t crazy about some of them (too spicy), and others I didn’t have the proper equipment (a deep fryer). So I chose the simplest recipe I could find, the one I knew I’d be able to handle, and added in some elements from the other recipes.

My cast iron skillet sizzled, and I labored over the tomatoes wondering if I was doing it right or burning them. I thought they looked and smelled pretty great, so I moved onto the next and last batch. The rest of the dinner had come together, and I was plating up: I had just three more tomatoes to fry. In my haste, and also due to a little bravado at actually creating one of my favorite Southern dishes, I cavalierly tossed the second-to-last tomato into the skillet.

You can probably guess what happened next. The tomato landed with a plop, and the piping hot oil sloshed out of the pan, and right onto my forearm. The instant it happened, I knew I was in serious trouble. I shouted out the “S” word so loud that I heard Liam audibly gasp from the next room, and my stepdad came running around the corner to help me. But by that time I already had my arm under some running cold water. I then slathered some honey on it because I thought I remembered that honey was a good treatment rather than butter (it was organic wildflower honey, just in case you wanted to know). And it worked! I was waiting for excruciating pain to follow, but it didn’t. I mean, it stung that’s for sure, but the severe pain didn’t come.

Meanwhile, my mom is yelling at me to stop what I’m doing to go put some burn cream on it and a Bandaid, but I had to finish the tomatoes. I was suddenly recalling all those chef memoirs I had read and every one of them had terrible burn stories to tell while at the stove. But since they couldn’t stop to put on a Bandaid or use burn cream due to the rush in the kitchen, I figured I wouldn’t either. For a brief shining moment, I sort of felt like a chef, sacrificing comfort and healing for the sake of the meal.

The tomatoes were excellent. A perfect crunch, and that tangy sweetness you can only get from Green Tomatoes. The recipe is as follows, and you can serve it with your favorite dipping sauce:

Fried Green Tomatoes

2/3 cup white cornmeal

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1 Tbsp. garlic powder

2 Tbsp. buttermilk

3 large green tomatoes, sliced

1 large egg, lightly beaten

¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil or olive oil

• Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl; stir well. Combine beaten egg and buttermilk. Dip tomato slices in egg mixture; dredge in cornmeal mixture, coating well on both sides.

• Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1 layer of tomato slices and fry 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned, turning once. Remove tomatoes from skillet and drain. Set fried tomatoes aside and keep warm. Repeat process with remaining oil and tomato slices. Serve immediately. Yield: 6 servings.

After that’s complete move on to the next phase:

• Curse as loudly as you can

• Run wound under cold running water

• Honey

• Burn ointment/Neosporin

• Gauze or two large Bandaids

Apply all, but not at the same time. Accept the blame for your stupidity. Take picture of wound since it resembles Popeye’s flexed arm. Send to best friend via phone. Enjoy!


Elizabeth Wilson said...

Ouch!I can't wait to try these tomatoes!

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