Saturday, February 5, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes.........A Fall Favorite!

Let's be honest....this is just taking something healthy, frying it and then pouring some seriously gluttonous sauce over the top, but that is what we do in the South, and we do it well.  When I lived in Atlanta I had a great roommate who loves to cook as much as I do and loves fried green tomatoes as much as I do.  In a town like Atlanta just about every restaurant has their own variety of these Southern treasures and it is our civic obligation to try each and every one of them.  My roomie finally tried one version that he thought beat all the rest....the winner was fried green tomatoes with roasted red pepper aoili topped with goat cheese.  INCREDIBLE!!!  After doing a little research of his own he decided he could create his own version of this delicious appetizer.  Here is what we did:

It is generally better to make the aioli several hours in advance or a day in advance if you have the time. 

Go get your grandmother's cast iron skillet 'cause you're gonna need it!  After soaking the sliced tomatoes in buttermilk for several hours (or overnight, preferably) dip them in an egg wash then a mixture of corn meal and flour then fry them up in some vegetable or canola oil. 

Once all of the tomatoes are fried, let them dry on a cooling rack.  This is better than placing them on a paper towel as it does not make the bottom mushy but still keeps it from sitting in the grease any longer.

At this point you are ready to plate these delectable hors d'oervres!


Will's Fried Green Tomatoes with Roasted Red Pepper Aioli

3 or 4 large firm green tomatoes
Vegetable or peanut oil, for deep-frying
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup cornmeal

Slice the tomatoes 1/4-inch thick. Lay them out in a shallow baking pan and sprinkle with salt.
Place the tomato slices in a colander and allow time for the salt to pull the water out of the toma-
toes, approximately 30 minutes. In a skillet, heat the oil for deep-frying over medium-high heat.
Dip the tomatoes into egg wash, and then dredge them in flour/corn meal. Deep-fry until golden
brown. Keep warm.

Roasted Red Pepper Aioli:
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers, drained, patted dry
1/3-cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the aioli: Finely chop the garlic in the food processor. Add the peppers and blend until
almost smooth. Blend in the mayonnaise. With the machine running, blend in the oil. Season the
aioli, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer the aioli to a small bowl. (The aioli can be made 2
days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

To put everything together, spread tomatoes out on a baking sheet (preferably with a wire rack
slightly elevated, this will keep tomatoes crispier when out into oven). Put goat cheese crumbles
(bleu, gorgonzola, or feta would probably work well also) on each tomato and top that with
toasted pecan crumbles. Put in oven or under broiler for just long enough for cheese to soften.
Once cooled, drizzle aioli over each tomato and they are ready.

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