Wednesday, June 25, 2008

When Life Gives You Green Tomatoes, Fry 'em!

While weeding the vegetable garden yesterday, I knocked off a nice-sized green tomato. Love asked if it would ripen off the bush, but I didn't think so, since it had no pink on it. So, what else was there to do but fry it?

Now, I've lived in the South my entire life, but I've never eaten fried green tomatoes. My mother never cooked them when I was a kid, and I've always loved ripe tomatoes much too much to bother with green ones. But, what's a girl to do?

So, I pulled out my trusted Southern cookbook, Thirty Years at the Mansion by Liza Ashley. But Liza let me down. So I resorted to Mother's old copy of Looking at Cooking by Mildred Swift. Fried Green Tomatoes is the last vegetable recipe listed. Mildred says:

Remove the hard stem end from the tomato. Cut into slices about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roll each slice in corn meal, and fry in hot fat until brown. NOTE: Bacon drippings are good for frying tomatoes.

Can you tell that Mildred wrote the cookbook before cholesterol was in our national vocabulary?

I fried the tomato as directed, although I used canola oil. Not only could I just not get past the idea that frying anything in bacon grease would take years off my life, neither could I spare any off my precious stash of bacon grease. Because, yes, I do use bacon grease in my kitchen, but I use it sparingly for flavoring, not as a frying medium.

The tomatoes fried up nicely, and the entire family tried them, a first for all of us. We thought they were OK, but fried green tomatoes won't become a summer staple at our house anytime soon. Now, if I could just find some okra, we'd be in business....

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