Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fried Green Tomatoes

This is yet another entry featuring a vegetable (or fruit, technically) from my CSA!

When confronted with these little green tomatoes, I was at a bit of a loss. My boyfriend (of course) instantly suggested "fried green tomatoes!" The suggestion definitely sounded like a good one. While living in Raleigh I'd had delicious fried green tomatoes several times, but had never tried making them myself!

I thought I remembered that one of my favorite vegan blogs, VeganYumYum had posted a recipe about this quite a while I decided to tackle it!

This recipe is an adaptation of the one on VeganYumYum (my version is pictured below, with a side of black radish chips).


What You'll Need:
8 small (or 4 large) green tomatoes
peanut oil (or canola), for frying

Breading Mix
1 cup corn meal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic salt
1 1/2 tsp salt
cracked black pepper, to taste (approximately 1/8 tsp)

Batter Mix
2 tbsp Bob's Red Mill vegetarian egg replacer*
6 tbsp boiling water
1/2 cup almond milk (or soy)

What You'll Need to Do:
Core the green tomatoes and slice them into 1/2" slices. Pat dry with a paper towel.

Mix together the breading mix and set aside in a plate or shallow bowl.

Combine the boiling water and egg replacer in a small bowl or cup and whisk until thick and foamy. Add this mixture to a separate larger bowl, along with the milk, and continue whisking. You'll now have two separate bowls, one with your dry mix, and one with the wet.

Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet until hot (but not smoking!), with about 1/4" of oil in the bottom.

Place a tomato slice in the wet batter mix, and make sure its fully covered. Then place the slice in the bowl with the dry breading mix. Flip and press, several times if needed, to be sure the dry mixture is completely coating the slices.

Repeat these batter/breading steps with as many slices as you can fit in the pan at a time (I fried about four or five at a time), being sure not to overcrowd it (overcrowding will lower the heat, making for soggy fried tomatoes!). Fry on each side for about 4 minutes, until golden.

After frying, place on paper towels to help drain the oil.

My Tips & Tricks:
When shopping for green tomatoes, the general rule is, the larger the better (you want them to be about the same size as a regular tomato). In my case, however, I had the last pick at the CSA pickup, so we had mostly tiny tomatoes. I have to say, once they were fried I didn't mind--they sure were tasty!

I also made the balsamic reduction recommended on VeganYumYum.

roasted root vegetables and green salad

Aside from frying, you've got lots of other options with green tomatoes. They're nice and crunchy on their own, and they go pretty well in salads, relishes, etc. I threw them in with a little arugula, toasted walnuts, and dried cranberries (above, left). Tossed with a vinaigrette they were really good!

*egg replacer is an ingredient you'll commonly see in vegan baked goods. I think it tends to make things a little dry and chalky, so I try to avoid using it when possible, especially for moist baked goods. It does, however, provide good binding properties and sometimes (as in this recipe) taste is not an issue! Bob's Red Mill egg replacer is one of the more expensive brands on the market, but I prefer it over the less expensive, Ener-G egg replacer. With the amount of egg replacer I use (i.e. rarely an entire bag in a year) the improved taste is definitely worth the difference in cost.

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