Fried Green Tomatoes: A Summertime Favorite
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At the end of the growing season I typically end up with a bunch of green tomatoes that most likely will not ripen on the vine-not enough sun and near frost conditions at night. So every year usually in September, I make fried green tomatoes. This year I only grew grape and plum tomatoes. I discovered something new that I didn't know before. If the tomatoes are too green, they are bitter, if they are too red, they become mushy, although they still taste good.
Tomatoes are native to the Andes region of South America--Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru; although there is no evidence to support they were domesticated or cultivated there. In fact, it is Mexico that is credited with cultivating the tomato. From Mexico it was brought to Europe in the early 16th century by Spanish explorers. The name "tomato" comes from the Mexican word "tomatl".
Tomatoes are actually a fruit not a vegetable. They are members of the Solanaceae or Nightshade family--the same family that potatoes, eggplants, peppers, and petunias belong to. Red tomatoes are widely used in cooking today but weren't always so popular because of their association with the deadly nightshade. For many years they were thought to be poisonous-or at the very least regarded as suspicious.
As for green tomatoes, those southern cooks have lots of uses for them. For me, they are only associated with frying and pickling. I love pickled green tomatoes, but I've never tried to make them. Maybe next year?
Easy Recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes
Cut 2 small to medium sized green tomatoes into thick slices. Set aside on a plate. Crack open one egg and add to a bowl. Add about a 1/4 cup cornmeal to another bowl.
Add olive oil to a frying pan and heat over high until oil is hot. In the meantime, dip each green tomato slice into the egg bowl and then into the cornmeal bowl. Shake off excess cornmeal. Place green tomato slices into the frying pan and cook over medium high heat until tomatoes are tender and cornmeal is a golden color. Be careful not to burn the cornmeal.
Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel and add salt and pepper to taste. Let cool and enjoy!
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