Every year about this time we start getting excited about tomatoes. While the crop here in Virginia is still weeks away, the plants in our garden are getting big and are covered in blossoms. Meanwhile the heat and humidity of summer is beginning to descend upon us.
Normally fried green tomatoes are reserved for the fall, for that last pick, when the plants are loaded with tomatoes that will never ripen before the first frost. But after happening upon a few early green tomatoes from Planet Earth Diversified, a local Virginia farmer, we decided to get a jump start.
This recipe really highlights the glory of the simple green tomato. It may even earn it a place of equality with its riper, juicier cousins.
Fried Green Tomato BLT with Spicy Remoulade
Makes 2 sandwiches
5 slices smoked sugar-cured Virginia bacon, fried crisp but not dry (we love Edwards bacon and ham products from Surry, VA)
4 slices sourdough bread
1 medium green tomato
1 tsp milk
1 cup flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2-3 leaves of crisp fresh romaine lettuce
2 tbsp peanut oil
Spicy Remoulade (recipe below)
Toast the bread on one side until golden, about 3 minutes under a hot broiler. Turn off the broiler and keep warm in the oven until ready to assemble the sandwiches.
Slice the tomato in 1/8” slices. A medium-sized tomato will provide about 6 good slices, ignoring the ends. Lay tomato slices between two paper towels and allow to dry for 10 minutes, then season well with salt and pepper on both sides.
Crack the egg into a small bowl and add a splash of milk. Beat well to combine. Put the flour and bread crumbs in two other bowls.
Dredge a tomato slice in flour and shake off the excess. Wiggle around in the egg to cover, then drop into the bread crumbs. Toss crumbs on top and press lightly all over to adhere. The goal is a nice layer of breading that’s not too heavy. Repeat for remaining tomato slices.
Heat peanut oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering but not too hot.
Drop in the tomato slices. They should sizzle lightly but not brown too quickly. Fry on one side until golden, about 3 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side, another 3 minutes. Lower the heat if necessary so the skillet doesn’t get too hot. Add a few drops of oil if the pan gets too dry, but be conservative. Too much oil will make them soggy.
Remove to paper towels to drain and keep warm in the oven while you prepare the sandwiches.
Slather the remoulade onto the soft sides of all four pieces of toast. For each sandwich, add two tomato slices, then follow with 2 ½ slices of bacon, then a few torn pieces of romaine. Top with remaining toast and slice each sandwich in half before serving.
1/3 cup mayo
1 tsp chili paste or sauce (like sambal, gochujang, or sriracha – we used homemade fermented pepper mash)
1 tbsp finely diced bread and butter pickles
1 tsp ketchup
Bonus Alternate – Fried Green Tomato with Green Goddess Dressing
This is simple, but very good.
Prepare the fried tomatoes as above, top with Buttermilk Green Goddess Dressing (this is a great recipe from Bon Appetit). If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, mix a teaspoon of lemon juice into a 1/3 cup of milk and let stand 5 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.