Sunday, September 07, 2014

Fried Green Tomatoes and Gina and Pat Neely: Buttermilk Dipping Sauce

It is that beautiful time of year.  The time when the green tomatoes start showing up everywhere, and I start thinking about how I'm going to fry them up into crunchy, tasty tidbits.  So that's exactly what I did.  And none of this panko nonsense.  These are the real deal, cornmeal and all.  And the dip?  It took everything in me not to eat it with a spoon.

Fried Green Tomatoes

4-5 green tomatoes
Sea salt, for sprinkling
1⅔ cup all-purpose flour, divided use
2 large eggs
½ cup buttermilk
⅔ cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon celery salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons sea salt
4 tablespoons canola oil
4 tablespoons bacon fat
Buttermilk Dipping Sauce

Wash and slice green tomatoes.  Set the slices on a rack and sprinkle with sea salt.  Let set for 15 minutes to allow the moisture to come to the surface.

Set up three dipping bowls:  The first bowl should have 1 cup of flour.  The second bowl should have the beaten eggs and the buttermilk, well combined.  The third bowl should have the remaining ⅔ cup flour, the cornmeal, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, celery salt, cayenne pepper, and 2 teaspoons sea salt.  Make sure the flour/cornmeal mixture is well combined.

Heat the canola oil and bacon fat in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Dip each tomato slice first into the flour, and shake off the excess.  Then dip in the egg mixture, shaking off the excess.  Finally dip the slices into the flour/cornmeal mixture and shake off the excess.  Lay each tomato slice in the hot oil and cook until brown on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side.  If the tomatoes start cooking too quickly, turn the heat down to medium.  Drain the tomato slices on a paper towel, but do not stack them or cover them.  Sprinkle with additional salt and serve hot with the buttermilk dipping sauce.

Makes 6 servings

Buttermilk Dipping Sauce
Adapted from Gina and Pat Neely

½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup mayonnaise
¾ cup buttermilk
Juice of ½ lime
2 tablespoons Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce
5 green onions, sliced
Salt and pepper

In a small pot, cook apple cider vinegar and brown sugar until syrupy.  Set aside to cool.

Combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add 4 tablespoons of the vinegar syrup and stir well.  Add additional lime juice, vinegar syrup, and salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Makes about 2 cups

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