This morning, my friend Randy from down the street brought me my first big mess of summer squash. They are beautiful little things, only about the length of my hand and pale and tender as butter.
I plan to incorporate them into my favorite summer side dish — sauteed squash and/or zucchini with sweet onion, garlic and tomatoes.
Also in the bag were a few lovely banana peppers and two small green tomatoes. It was the latter that got me thinking about my next kitchen experiment, though. I’ve always liked fried green tomatoes but I’ve never made them myself.
It is just me, or are fried green tomatoes appearing on more and more restaurant menus these days? And it’s not just restaurants with low country fare, such as Trio in downtown Roanoke. I’ve had them topped with lump crab meat and dressed with ham and balsamic vinegar reduction.
The best fried green tomatoes I’ve had in recent past were prepared by a chef with Jim Schaal’s Catering. They were light and crispy and perfectly seasoned. Jim didn’t make them himself, but it could very well have been his recipe. I asked his assistant how he made them that night and he just shrugged and gave me one of those “I don’t know, a little egg, a little cornmeal, some seasonings” replies.
Maybe it really is THAT simple. I could see all sorts of seasoning possibilities for fried green tomatoes — seasoned salt, a little creole seasoning, a dash of Tabasco. And they are incredibly versatile in terms of toppings, as well. Remoulade? Feta cheese? A chili/sour cream sauce?
Does anyone out there have a tried-and-true recipe for fried green tomatoes? I’ve got a couple of ‘maters at home that are just dying for a dip.