As the summer winds down here in the mid-Atlantic, and we all long for any kind of respite from the heat and humidity of August, I remind myself that with the passing of these hot days also goes one of my favorite summertime treats: fried green tomatoes!
I rediscovered these southern delicacies once I created a gluten-free flour that worked as well for muffins as it did for batters. All kinds of recipes were fair gluten-free game for me again, and at the top of my list were recipes that held wonderful memories for me … like summers filled with fried green tomatoes! These salty and tart treats are a meal for me on many a summer night, and they are wonderful with homemade bread as sandwiches for lunch as well.
Aside from using the right flour, the key to this summer-time delicacy is in selecting the tomatoes. If you grow your own, that’s fantastic! Otherwise, hit the local farmer’s market or pick-your-own farm and opt for large, very firm, green tomatoes. If you do not use them right away, store in the produce drawer of your refrigerator to slow the ripening. Once they get softer and turn a pale whitish-green, then red color, they are too ripe for this recipe — they will fall apart and never get crisp because they are too juicy.
Once you select the right tomatoes, be sure your oil is hot enough. If it is not hot enough to get the batter on the tomatoes crispy, it will just make the tomatoes mushy-likewise, it’s best not to make them too far in advance of serving because they are prone to lose their crispness when sitting out for too long. However, you can refrigerate or freeze fried tomatoes by cooling them, then layering them between wax paper and sealing them in a zip top bag. The best way to serve again after refrigeration or freezing is to quick-broil them to restore their crispiness.
I hope this recipe helps get you through the dog days of summer too – savor these treats while you still can!
Fried Green Tomatoes
- High heat cooking oil (“high oleic” safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, refined (not extra virgin) olive oil, or organic canola oil)
- 1 cup Jules Gluten Free™ All-Purpose Flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2-3 medium-large firm green tomatoes
Heat enough oil in a large skillet to cover the entire skillet bottom. While that is coming to high heat (400ºF), prepare a bowl for dredging with the flour, salt, and pepper whisked together well. If necessary, double the dry ingredients for dredging the tomatoes to be sure to have enough to coat all the slices.
Slice the tomatoes approximately 1/4 inch thick, removing as much peel as possible from the two end pieces, as the flour mixture will not stick well to the skins. Dredge each slice through the flour mixture, coating each side well, then lay gently in the heated oil. Cook on both sides until light brown and crispy (usually no more than 2 minutes per side if the oil is at the proper temperature).
Remove to a paper towel or parchment-lined baking sheet and put into a 200ºF oven to keep warm until serving.