26 July 2008

The popularity of Fried Green Tomatoes was not limited to the South as many would lead you to believe. The fact is, farmers everywhere had to find ways to use the last of the tomato crop, especially in the northern states where the tomatoes had to be picked green to protect them from the first frost. The Pennsylvania Dutch would can green tomato relishes with some. Others would be wrapped individually in newspaper and stored in a cool basement or root cellar to slowly ripen for later use. They also used many in preparations such as Green Tomato Pie or for frying. The only difference I can determine is that the Pa Dutch used flour as a coating (see recipe), as opposed to the flour and cornmeal mixture used by most Southerners. Either is very good. Tomatoes were fried in bacon grease or lard then, in later years, shortening, oil or butter. See the notes below for choosing tomatoes for frying.

3 to 4 unripened tomatoes, cut into approximately 3/8-inch slices
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
Vegetable oil, butter or bacon grease for frying
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet over medium-high heat. Mix together the flour and cornmeal. Dredge the tomato slices in the flour mixture to coat both sides; shake off excess. Place in hot pan and brown quickly until slightly softened but not mushy, about 2 minutes per side. Adjust heat as needed. Add more oil as needed between batches. Place briefly on paper towels to remove excess oil, then on a large platter in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Serves 4

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