Much like Admiral Kirk and his inevitable defeat of Khan, I have defeated the tomatoes. (Or should I say, “TOMATOOOOOES!”)
I’m not sure if this shot captures the mess that I felt was all over the little kitchen after dealing with the tomatoes, but lemme tell you: it was a battlefield. There were tomato guts, skins, and tears all over the counter and in the sink. I submit the above as evidence, lest you think the life of bloggers is all pretty pictures of food and happiness and sunshine, all the time.
But the battle was completely worth it, because look!:
Thanks to a brilliant suggestion by Braeden’s mom, I easily defeated most of the tomatoes by blanching, peeling, lightly chopping, and freezing them in quart-sized freezer bags.
A halved recipe of this tomato jam also happened. It’s been spread into breakfast sandwiches with fried eggs and blanched kale, on toast with sweet pickled jalapeños, and on toast with feta sprinkled over top. In other words it’s very versatile, and what are you waiting for? You don’t even have to use all the listed ingredients – I used a bit less sugar, no ginger, and just a squeeze of lime and didn’t bother with sterilizing and canning since it will be eaten within a few weeks anyway. Easy, peasy.
If the Khan tomatoes are still tormenting you, though, may I suggest something else? Something green, perhaps?
If you have the chance to get your hands on some green tomatoes, do it. And then fry them. With a gentle salting, followed by a quick dredge in seasoned flour, a light bath in an egg whisked with buttermilk, and a hefty coating of spiced cornmeal and breadcrumbs, those green tomatoes will be the happiest of green tomatoes in the world. Who wouldn’t want happy tomatoes? (Aside from Khan, that is.)
I adapted my recipe from here and was craving a Mexican spice profile at the time. After making them again, I didn’t see a reason to change the spices. Even the leftovers were good cold, straight from the fridge. I happened to have a few tomatillos on hand and put together a quick, fresh salsa of tomatillos, a few small tomatoes, peppers, onions, cilantro, lime, and salt to spoon over the fried green tomatoes, but they actually didn’t need a condiment. Even Braeden, the Condiment King, ate one or two without adornment.
Give it a shot. I was intimidated at first (dredging, coating, and frying, oh my!), but I promise this formula actually keeps the coating stuck on the tomatoes.
(And on your fingers. But this is a battle, so you should expect some minor injuries.)
A glass of sangria while you work couldn’t hurt, either.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Adapted from Simply Recipes
Notes: The first time I made these, I followed the original recipe measurements for the flour, egg/buttermilk mix, and cornmeal coating but ran out before I finished frying the last tomato, leaving me in a frenzy of mixing more to finish it off. Having enough coating just depends on the size of your tomatoes. The below measurements will likely make a little more than you need, but you should know that the flour, egg/buttermilk, and cornmeal combo also does wonders to other things that may be lurking around your kitchen – pickled okra, leftover slices of grilled eggplant, slices of already cooked sweet potatoes, for example. About the seasonings: I used cumin and two other spice blends (Goya Adobo and Ancho Chili and Lime), but use whatever you’d like. Do let me know if you try something you’re particularly excited about!
- 3 medium-large green tomatoes
- 1 cup flour
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup cornmeal
- 2/3 cup breadcrumbs (plain, Panko, homemade, whatever you have)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Adobo seasoning
- 1-2 teaspoons Ancho Chili and Lime seasoning
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup vegetable oil, for frying
1. Slice the tomatoes into ¼ inch rounds and arrange on a plate, lightly salting each slice. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
2. In a wide, shallow dish or bowl, combine the flour and pepper to taste. Set aside.
3. In another shallow dish, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs. Set aside.
4. In one more shallow dish, combine the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, and seasonings.
5. Heat about a 1/4 cup of oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet. While the oil is heating, arrange your assembly line: sangria with straw (optional), sliced tomatoes, flour bowl, buttermilk-egg bowl, cornmeal-breadcrumb bowl. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and place near your skillet.
6. Once oil is heated, start coating your tomatoes. Dredge both sides of a tomato slice lightly in flour, then coat both sides in the buttermilk-egg, and finally coat both sides in the cornmeal-breadcrumbs. Place in oil. Quickly repeat with more tomato slices, filling pan in a single layer of tomatoes. Cook about 3 minutes per side (they’ll be nicely golden-brown) and remove to paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat until you’ve used up all your tomatoes, replenishing the oil if needed. If you have leftover coating ingredients, experiment with other things in your refrigerator! (Just don’t save the cornmeal-breadcrumb mixture, since it will be contaminated with the raw egg.)
7. Serve with salsa, barbecue sauce, tomato chutney, or eat plain. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator – they’re good cold or gently crisped in an oven.
Yes, tomatoes, it has been lovely doing battle with you, but I have won yet again.
In conclusion, I leave you with these words of wisdom:
“Ah Kirk, my old friend. Do you know the Klingon proverb that tells us ‘Revenge is a dish that is best served cold.’? It is very cold in SPACE!”