Tart and tangy, crunchy on the outside, and soft and juicy on the inside, these easy fried green tomatoes are the perfect way to use up any unripe tomatoes you may have lurking around.
What are fried green tomatoes?
This Southern delight is simply slices of seasoned green tomatoes dipped in beaten egg or buttermilk (or aquafaba), dredged in cornmeal, and then shallow-fried. It's traditional, I believe, to fry them in bacon fat but I use vegetable oil.
They're generally served with shrimp remoulade but I prefer just a hot and spicy version, sans crustaceans.
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café
Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistlestop Café is one of my all-time favourite films, and I've watched it about a hundred times. (OK, maybe six or seven. An argument could be made for eight.)
Anyway, my point is, I've watched it quite a lot. And each time, I wondered what actual fried green tomatoes taste like. Presumably, pretty darn good, given how popular they seem to be. After years of wondering, I finally got to try them in 2013. Not in Alabama. Not in New Orleans. But in Chiang Mai, Thailand!
There's a Mexican restaurant in the city, called Miguel's, where they make pretty good food, including some foods from the southern states of the US. It's also where I got to eat hushpuppies for the first time (and discovered that they are not, in fact, miniature hot dogs). Oh my, I love those so much!
Now, at this point, I should point out that the closest I've been to the American deep south is Los Angeles, which is to say not that close, and I'm absolutely certain that there are people who would tell me that the food at Miguel's is as close to being authentically American/Mexican as raw phad Thai is... well, Thai! However, it doesn't matter - the food tasted great, and didn't make me ill. Surely that's all that's required? 😉
Fried green tomatoes recipe
- large unripe tomatoes
- cornflour (cornstarch)
- salt and pepper
- eggs, buttermilk, or aquafaba
- cornmeal (or polenta)
- neutral vegetable oil for frying
How to make
- Heat the oil in a large skillet.
- Wash the tomatoes, then cut each one into four slices, and blot well on paper towels.
- Season the cornflour (cornstarch) with the salt and pepper, and place into a shallow dish.
- Put the beaten eggs (or aquafaba) into another dish, and the cornmeal into a third.
- Dip the slices of tomato into the cornflour, then in the egg or aquafaba, and finally, into the cornmeal, making sure the slices are well-coated.
- When the oil is hot enough, place four slices into the oil, and fry for 3-4 minutes each side, until golden brown.
- Remove from the oil, and place onto paper towels to drain. Repeat for the rest of the tomatoes, frying the slices in batches of four.
- Serve immediately with spicy remoulade sauce and a cold beer.
- Fried green tomatoes don't keep well, so they are best eaten as soon as they're cooked.
- If you don't have any cornflour (cornstarch), you can use plain flour (all-purpose). However, I find that the cornflour helps to create a crispy coating.
Quick and easy remoulade recipe
This makes about 375ml or around 1½ cups, which is enough for 4-6 servings. Use veganaise if making for vegans or plant-based folk, or your usual stuff if not.
- 250ml (1 cup) mayo
- 2½ tbsp mustard (I prefer to use wholegrain but go with your own favourite)
- 1 tbsp paprika (I prefer to use sweet but smoked works, too)
- 1 tbsp (or more) hot sauce (I generally use sriracha - I never said this is an authentic recipe!)
- 1 tbsp finely-chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp capers (chopped)
- 1-2 tsp pickle juice
- 1 tsp Cajun, creole, or Old Bay seasoning
- 1 tsp finely chopped tarragon
- ¼ tsp salt
Mix everything together, and set aside for 30 mins before serving, to allow the flavours to develop.
Which tomatoes are best?
Bog-standard unripe tomatoes, straight off the vine are best. Don't go for fancy-schmancy ones that stay green even when ripe. You want firm ones that haven't ripened yet. The others won't hold up to frying, and will go mushy. You don't want that.
If you don't have any tomatoes growing in your garden, you may well be able to find some green ones at your local farmers market. Or even neighbours. Ask around!
How to eat
I've only ever eaten fried green tomatoes as snacks or appetisers but apparently, some folk have them in po' boys. As a lover of this not-so-humble sandwich, I have to say that a fried green tomato po' boy really appeals to me.
Another way I've seen them used is as a substitute for aubergines (eggplants) in parmigiana. A green tomato parm, if you will. Again, I've never tried it but I'd be willing to give it a go. That said, I wonder whether it might be a bit too much on the acidic side. Only one way to find out, I guess!
Authentic fried green tomatoes
I make no claim that my fried green tomatoes are the same as you'd find in Alabama or anywhere else in the South. For example, the cornmeal I have access to here might be vastly different. The sunflower oil I use to fry them in may impart a different taste. The tomatoes are most likely not the same as the ones across the pond. But I'm confident that you'll love this recipe regardless.
Serve hot with some spicy remoulade sauce while watching Driving Miss Daisy, The Legend of Bagger Vance, O' Brother Where Art Thou, To Kill A Mockingbird, or indeed, Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistlestop Café. And enjoy!
How To Make Vegan Fried Green Tomatoes
- 180 ml neutral oil (e.g. sunflower)
- 4 large unripe tomatoes
- 3 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
- 1 tsp white pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 large eggs , beaten (or 7 tbsp aquafaba)
- 9 tbsp cornmeal (or polenta)
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium-high heat.
- Wash the tomatoes, then cut each one into four slices, and blot well with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.
- Mix the cornflour (cornstarch) with the salt and pepper, and place into a shallow dish.
- Put the beaten egg (or aquafaba) into another dish, and the cornmeal into a third.
- Dip a slice of tomato into the cornflour, making sure each side is covered, then dip into the egg (or aquafaba), and finally, into the cornmeal, ensuring there is an even coating all over. Repeat for the rest of the tomato slices, and set aside.
- Drop a few crumbs of cornmeal into the oil - if they immediately start to bubble vigorously, the oil is hot enough.
- Carefully put four prepared slices into the hot oil, and fry for 3-4 minutes each side, until golden brown. Remove from the oil, and place onto paper towels to drain. Repeat for the rest of the tomatoes, frying in batches of four.
- Serve immediately with spicy remoulade sauce and a cold beer!
- 1 cup = US cup = 240 ml
- 1 tbsp = US/UK = 15 ml
- 1 fl oz = US = 30 ml