by Jessica Clark | Photography by Dave Barfield | Presented by Whole Foods
If you’ve never had a fried green tomato, you’re missing out on one of the south’s simple pleasures. Like a character straight from a Marvel movie, this little morsel really packs a punch. The savory, sweet and sour flavors help the humble and versatile green tomato dance across your taste buds. Add a bit of lemony, herbed crab salad and you are off the races… racing to the grocery store to make another batch, that is!
The magic of this dish is in the variety of temperature, texture and flavor. The hot, crispy tomato provides the perfect textural base for the cold, creamy crab salad. Too often, home cooks overlook the power of contrast in dishes – and this is what your taste buds desperately want. So, give it to them with this southern summer recipe.
Not really into crab? Try one of the other topping ideas at the end of this recipe.
Ingredients (All ingredients donated by Whole Foods)
Fried Green Tomatoes:
- ¼ cup corn starch
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley (save some to top crab salad)
- 3-4 green tomatoes or 5-6 tomatillos, sliced ½ inch or less thick
- ½ cup peanut oil, olive oil or avocado oil
- ½ – 1 lb. can/jar of lump crab meat (depending on how much crab you like)
- Scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
- Lemon juice to taste
- 1-2 tbsp. mayonnaise
- Salt and pepper
- Paprika (try smoked paprika too!)
Fried Green Tomatoes:
Grab three medium bowls and put one of the following in each bowl: 1) corn starch, 2) beaten eggs, 3) combination of panko bread crumbs, salt, pepper, Parmesan and parsley. Keep the bowls in this order and designate one of your hands as “dry” and the other as “wet.” Take each sliced tomato and cover it in corn starch and shake over the bowl to remove the excess. Next, dunk the tomato slice into the egg bowl (remember to use your “wet” hand!). Pick up the tomato and shake to remove any excess egg and place it in the panko mixture. Coat in bread crumbs, pressing to help them adhere. Repeat this process for each tomato slice, placing them on a large plate or baking sheet.
Tip: Make sure to cover all of the tomato surface during each bowl-dunking phase so that each subsequent coating adheres properly. You may need to refill bowls with ingredients, depending on how many tomato slices you decide to fry.
Heat a large skillet/pan with the olive oil until simmering (medium/medium-high heat). I recommend a traditional or enameled cast iron pan or pot – it holds the heat more consistently, and if you use the pot, you guard yourself from grease splatters. The heat is perfect if little bubbles appear in the oil around the tomato when you slowly lay it down. If you don’t see bubbles, turn up the heat. If the grease splatters or pops, turn down your heat. I have the scars to prove what NOT to do!
Cook the tomatoes in a single layer for about 5-6 minutes, turning once, until golden brown and crispy. They may cook faster, so constantly look for color rather than just relying on the clock. Transfer the tomato slices to a cooling rack. Sprinkle each tomato with salt. Tip: Whenever you fry, make sure your food has enough air circulation as it cools. Placing your fried food on a paper towel or plate can make one side soggy.
Combine all the crab salad items in a medium bowl. Store salad in the refrigerator until cool and ready to serve. Top each tomato with a dollop of crab salad and sprinkle paprika to taste. Serve immediately. Arranging this cold and creamy mixture on top of the hot and crunchy tomatoes is the key to the magic of this delicious dish.
Try these additional tomato toppers:
- Remoulade sauce drizzle and squeeze of lemon or add finely diced andouille for a heartier meal
- Chopped pickled shrimp right out of the fridge (see TFM’s Spring 2017 issue for the recipe)
- Goat or feta cheese with a balsamic drizzle
- Basil, tomato, onion and mozzarella cheese