Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Grilled & Fried

Skewers on a plate
Green tomatoes are one of the joy's of summer. Bright-red, ripe tomatoes are the number one joy followed closely by watermelon, and then green tomatoes.  Well, let me think about this.  Squash (any kind) might be closer to second, then next would be watermelon and then green tomatoes.  Or maybe a really sweet cantaloupe or muskmelon.  There's just too much to love.

I visited a produce stand a couple of days ago and found a bin loaded with green tomatoes.  I do have several tomato plants with green tomatoes on them in my little garden, but I really wanted to see those turn ripe on the vine.  My trip to the produce stand was opportune for a couple of reasons, Grilled Green Tomatoes and Fried Green Tomatoes.  Both, culinary delights!

The first delight had to be my skewered version.  My "discovery" of grilled green tomatoes happened many, many years ago almost by accident.  I was having some friends over for dinner and grilled steaks were the main star of the meal, but I wanted to have some grilled veggies to go alongside.  I had onion, bell pepper and that was about it, so I decided to see how a green tomato would work as an item on the grill.  My friends loved it and so did I.  It's been a must in early summer ever since.

Grilled Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes
Vidalia onion
Italian salad dressing (any kind)
Black pepper

Wash and cut each tomato into 1/8 wedges.  Cut the onion in like manner.  Slice the bacon into 2 inch pieces.  Skewer a tomato wedge, a slice of bacon and an onion section.  Fill each skewer leaving enough room between each to cook properly.  Place in a long pan or dish and pour Italian salad dressing over all.  Marinate for an hour at least, turning during the process.  

You may use your own homemade vinaigrette; I normally would do that, but in a pinch for time the salad dressing achieves the same purpose rather well. 

Place the skewers on the cooler side of the grill.  Turn them several times to keep from charring too much on one side.  After each turning, baste with the marinade.  Cook to desired doneness and remove from the grill onto a serving platter.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  

The slight acidity of the green tomato gives an almost lemony essence and brightens the flavor so much when grilled.  The onion and bacon balance the piquancy of the tomato, perfectly.

Platter of Fried Green Tomatoes

Now for the next savory bite.  Nothing says Southern quite like Fried Green Tomatoes.  There are as many recipes as there are folks in Dixie that love them.  I keep it simple.  No egg buttermilk foolishness.  Corn meal crusted, pan-fried slices of heaven are how I like mine.  

Fried Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes
Canola oil
White corn meal (not self-rising)
All-purpose flour
Black Pepper

Wash and slice the green tomatoes into fairly thick slices.  Place the slices in a single layer on a rack over a baking sheet.  The pan under the rack will catch any drips that come from the tomato.  Salt the tomatoes on both sides to your taste to allow the salt to do its magic.

The salt will bring out some of the water in the tomato, which allows the meal to cling and form a crust.  

To fry the green tomatoes, first get out your favorite iron skillet.  Add enough oil for pan frying the tomatoes and bring to a medium/high heat.

You want the oil to come up at least half way on the tomatoes as they fry.  

Use a 3 to 1 ratio of corn meal to flour and add a hefty pinch (or more if you like) of black pepper.  Mix well and gently dredge the tomatoes in the corn meal mixture, then carefully lay them in the hot oil.  Don't crowd the pan.  Fry on medium heat to allow the crust to form.  When the first side reaches a golden brown, turn and brown the other side.  Drain on paper towels and serve piping hot.  

Both these recipes are so incredibly simple, but for me, they're both just as incredibly delicious.  I love summer!


  1. I'm a blogger/writer and publisher of a free online ezine, The Bodock Post. I need a nice picture of a butcher block to use in our September Issue. The one in this post will do nicely. I will be happy to credit your picture as you deem fit.
    PS: We publish the Sept. issue on August 25th. Hope to hear from you soon.

  2. I suppose you may need my email...