Once considered an American dinner table staple, fried green tomatoes are now mostly thought of as a treat. Add some simple Sriracha dipping sauce and you’ll make your tastebuds extra happy.
I know, I know, if you’ve never had them they seem just plain weird. Really weird. I get it, who would want to eat a hard green tomato?
Even if you don’t like tomatoes at all, I promise you, there’s a magic transformation that happens when you fry them. Frying green tomatoes brings out their natural sweetness and it’s worth the calories. Their undeniable simple yumminess is why people have been making them as long as there have been green tomatoes hanging around.
I make these fried green tomatoes when I put my garden to bed for the winter. The green tomatoes left on the vines won’t ripen outside because the frost has killed the plants. You can even find them in the grocery store sometimes. This is one last moment of tomato glory.
There’s no special type of tomato, just use unripe tomatoes of virtually any variety. If you know the tomatoes you’re using, it’s helpful to choose one that has a dense texture throughout, like a beefsteak and not too many open empty spaces, such as a paste tomato.
How to Make the Sriracha Dipping Sauce
Sriracha is simply a chili sauce – you can use any chili sauce of your choosing. To make the sauce, simply stir Sriracha and a zippy seasoning blend into some mayonnaise and let it sit.
How to Make the Fried Green Tomatoes
Slice the green tomatoes 1/4″ thick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let them sit while you prepare the three step breading procedure. Allowing them to sit a few minutes will bring out a bit of their moisture and permit the breading to cling a little better.
The Three Step Breading Procedure
The three step breading procedure is a classic cooking process used for well-coated crispy fried stuff. Set up three similar bowls or shallow pans, I like to use wide soup bowls.
Place in the first bowl some all-purpose flour and season it. In the second bowl, beat well a couple of eggs with a little water and seasoning. In the third bowl goes your bread crumbs and in this case, cornmeal, plus seasonings.
The flour sticks to the green tomato slices, the egg sticks to the flour and the breadcrumbs/cornmeal sticks to the egg. Set your bowls up in a row to accomplish this.
Dredge your tomato slices first in the flour, shaking off the excess. Then let your tomato slice swim around in the egg on both sides. Pick it up with tongs or a fork and let the excess egg drip off. Lay the tomato slice in the bread crumb mixture and bury it with a spoon, patting on the crumbs. Lift it up, and again, shake off the excess.
Set your breaded green tomato slices on a tray or plate in a single layer. Pop them in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. This resting period helps the breading to cling.
Frying Your Fried Green Tomatoes
While your breaded tomatoes are having a rest, pour some neutral tasting oil into a heavy skillet, so the oil is about 3/8″-1/2″ deep. A cast iron skillet is perfect for this task. Heat the skillet on medium until it begins to look thready and has a little shimmer to it. (Clean up while it’s heating.)
If you want to hold your tomatoes warm after frying, place a cooling rack on a sheet pan in the oven and turn the heat on the lowest setting, usually about 170°-180°.
Heat control is very important! Know your stove and skillet and be able to read it when it’s getting too hot – kitchen fires are nothing to gamble with. Keep children away and don’t get distracted while frying.
Test the oil by either frying a small dud piece or by dipping the edge of one breaded green tomato in the hot oil. It should bubble nicely, but not violently. If it barely bubbles, it’s not hot enough. Don’t fry in oil that’s not ready.
Fry your breaded green tomatoes approximately 4-5 minutes per side until golden. Remove them to the rack in the oven or onto a paper towel lined sheet pan to drain.
Gobble up while hot with your Sriracha Dipping Sauce!
Fried Green Tomatoes with Sriracha Dipping Sauce
Sriracha Dipping Sauce
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon Creole seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon Sriracha chili sauce, as desired
Fried Green Tomatoes
- 4-5 medium-large green tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning, divided use
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 1 cup fine dry bread crumbs, plain
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal, finely ground, not stone ground
- 1-2 cups oil for frying, such as vegetable, canola, peanut or corn oil
- Stir together dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Make it as spicy or mild as you like. Chill it in the refrigerator while making the fried green tomatoes.
Fried Green Tomatoes
- Slice green tomatoes crosswise 1/4" thick and sprinkle both sides of them with salt and pepper. Let sit.
- Meanwhile, prepare three step breading procedure using three wide bowls. In the first bowl, stir together flour and ½ teaspoon Creole seasoning. In the second bowl, thoroughly beat eggs with water and ½ teaspoon Creole seasoning. (The eggs should be beaten smooth, no thick spots remaining.) In the third bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, cornmeal and 1 teaspoon of Creole seasoning. Align the bowls in this order and beside them, place a rack on a tray or plate.
- Working with one slice at a time, dredge each side of a tomato slice first in the flour, shaking off the excess. Using a fork or tongs, dip both sides of the slice in the beaten eggs, holding it up to drain off excess. Lastly, lay the slice in the breadcrumb mixture, covering it up and patting to coat. Shake off any excess crumbs. Place the breaded tomato slices on the rack on a tray. Chill in the refrigerator or just let sit for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place a large heavy skillet on the stove and pour in oil to a depth of about 3/8"-1/2". Heat on medium until the oil is hot. It will appear thready and have a little shimmer to the surface. Do not heat until it's smoking!! Also, turn your oven on to it's lowest setting and in it, place a rack on a sheet pan for keeping the fried tomatoes warm.
- Test the oil by adding a scrap piece of tomato to it or dip in one edge of a breaded slice. The oil should bubble vigorously, but not sputter. If not much bubbling happens, heat the oil longer.
- Gently add the breaded green tomato slices to the hot oil, not crowding the pan. You'll have to fry in batches. Fry them approximately 4 to 5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove them to a paper towel lined sheet pan or the tray that's in the warm oven.
- Serve your hot fried green tomatoes with the Sriracha dipping sauce.
- Feel free to use any chili sauce that you like in the dipping sauce. Adjust the amount to your tastes.
- Use slices from across the centers of your tomatoes, avoiding woody cores or the tops and bottoms. Bread an extra bit or two to test if the oil is hot enough.
- Depending on how many tomato slice you’re frying, you may need to add a little more of the breading ingredients as needed as you go.
- Fine dry plain breadcrumbs are best for this recipe because they mix very smoothly with the cornmeal. If you only have Panko crumbs, whiz them in the food processor or blender to make them a fine texture.
- Some traditional fried green tomato recipes call for only a cornmeal breading which can be a rather tough crusty layer. The combination of breadcrumbs and cornmeal give this breading a lighter crunch that is very enjoyable and tasty.
- Use tongs or several forks and spoons to get the breading done. If you use your hands, you’ll end up wearing eggy breadcrumb mittens.
- While the breaded tomato slices are resting, clean up the breading process and counter and heat your oil in the skillet. You’ll have much less mess to clean up later.