Warning: This post may induce clogged arteries.
While I find it doubtful that some people have never heard of fried green tomatoes thanks to the novel and movie, I do find that lots of people have never had them. And that, dearhearts, is a crying shame.
When I was about ten years old, my next door neighbor showed me how to make fried green tomatoes. (Yes, it was around the time when the movie first came out.) She was my grandmother’s best friend, and she was from Kentucky, and I thought she was the best cook in the world for quite some time. I don’t think I’d ever even considered that a tomato could be something other than red, or that you could fry it. When she and I went into the kitchen and dusted her fresh-from-the-garden unripe tomatoes with cornmeal, I thought that this might possibly be the coolest thing I’d ever done. They tasted like potato chips, but better, and I could have eaten them every day.
We made them once or twice after that, but she moved and I grew older and since we didn’t grow our own tomatoes, we didn’t have green ones. And, up until I moved and started going to a farmer’s market regularly, I didn’t see them for almost a decade. One morning, I walked past a wooden box of green tomatoes, shiny and hard as rocks; I bought four praying I remembered the recipe. I searched online, and found recipes that baked them (they aren’t “baked” green tomatoes) and coated them with breadcrumbs (what??) or panko (hell no!). So I played around with what I could remember.
They’ve gotten to be more popular fare at both soul food hole-in-the-walls and at upscale places like Georgia Brown’s in Washington, D.C.. A few years back I realized that a bistro around the corner from me served fried green tomato BLTs, and I started going to that place more regularly. Continue reading