|Fried Green Tomato BLT with Sweet Basil Mayonnaise|
As seen on Honest Cooking...With such a late Spring the seasons seem off kilter. In a recent drive south to pick blackberries I stopped at one of the local fruit stands and cherries were still available in ample supply. Now don't get me wrong I would never turn down a few cherries, but the season for cherries usually ends by mid July, and yet peaches, nectarines and even berries are overflowing from the market stands at the same time. The fruit seasons seem to be running together and we have produce spilling from our baskets.
The days get a bit shorter, a nip bites at the edge of the air, and you know that all of that lush promise is going to stop delivering. But an autumn garden can be a thing of beauty. Sure, your early-summer crops have come and gone, but apples are dripping off the trees, vines are laden with ridiculously large squashes and melons, and tomatoes are everywhere. As soon as the frost descends, those tomato plants are done for.
We do not expect frost any time soon but while at a local farmers field I picked some green unripened tomatoes since the opportunity may not come up again. Green tomatoes are just regular tomatoes picked before they turn red, and have a more piquant flavour than their ripe brethren. When I think of fried, green tomatoes I start adding "y'all" to my sentences and want to sit on my front porch sipping mint juleps with a piece of Red Velvet Cake. In my eyes they are a very Southern dish! Tomatoes grow in such abundance in the South's lush growing season that green, unripe ones need to be picked throughout the summer to prevent the branches from collapsing under their weight. In contrast, unripe tomatoes are picked here in the Great White North only at the very end of the season, when it is clear that they will not ripen before the first frost. I couldn't resist the thought of a fried green tomato sandwich even if it is not the season quite yet. But it is the season somewhere isn't it!
Without the benefit of a garden of my own it is always a bonus when I find green tomatoes in my kitchen. This inevitably means fried green tomatoes are on the menu!!!! I was happy to recreate a twist on a standard bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich with savoury fried green tomatoes, peppery arugula,and salty bacon all balanced with a creamy basil mayonnaise.
If you can find it, use fine white cornmeal, which I am told is the primary cornmeal used in the Southern United States where this dish originates. Buttermilk adds flavour and tang, but is not totally necessary for an outstanding result. The second day I refried my leftover Fried Green Tomatoes and served them with some mesclun greens with a dollop of Sweet Basil Mayonnaise...delicious!!!
Back to the Future....
Over four years of blogging I have found many wonderful recipes to share on these pages. Some from my own kitchen, some from your creative blogs and web sites, and some from well known celebrities and chefs. I have been feeling a little nostalgic and was browsing these very pages just the other day, creeping back to the very beginning in 2006 when More Than Burnt Toast was in it's infancy and no more than "knee high to a grasshopper". We all have those stellar recipes from when we first started when we were lucky enough to find one comment and have maybe one reader; in my case even before I was taking photos of the dishes I prepared. My other motivation for reconnecting with the past is to create uniform formatting on this blog and this is a fun way for me to revisit past posts.
So here are a couple of flashback recipes from the very first baby steps here at MTBT with...
**Fried Green Tomato BLT with Sweet Basil Mayonnaise**
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
16 (1/8-inch thick) slices bacon
8 slices country sandwich bread
1 cup loosely packed arugula
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Fried Green Tomatoes (recipe below)
For the mayo: In a food processor, puree the basil, mayonnaise, lemon juice and mustard. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
For the sandwich: Place the bacon slices in a large nonstick saute pan set over medium heat and saute on both sides until crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Set aside on a paper towel-lined plate until ready to assemble the sandwich.
Prepare Fried Green Tomatoes according to recipe below.
To assemble the sandwich: Slather each slice of bread with a generous amount of the basil mayo. Top 4 of the bread slices with 4 pieces of crispy bacon, 2 fried green tomatoes and top with arugula. Finish by topping the sandwich off with the other slice of bread.
**Traditional Fried Green Tomatoes**
from Simply Recipes
3 medium, firm green tomatoes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (optional)
1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup peanut oil or other vegetable oil
1. Cut unpeeled tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Sprinkle slices with salt. Let tomato slices stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place in separate shallow bowls: the flour and Cajun seasoning (if using), buttermilk and egg, and bread crumbs and cornmeal.
2. Heat the peanut oil in a skillet on medium heat. Beat the egg and the buttermilk together. Dip tomato slices in the flour-seasoning mix, then buttermilk-egg mixture, then the cornmeal-bread crumb mix. In the skillet, fry half of the coated tomato slices at a time, for 3-5 minutes on each side or until brown. Set the cooked tomatoes on paper towels to drain.
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