Recipe of the Month: October

What to do with Green Tomatoes

As the frost has hit this fall, many of us have a number of unripe tomatoes. There are a few options to work with the tomatoes instead of just tossing.

If you have picked already, place the tomatoes in a cardboard box between sheets of newspaper and store in a slightly warm to cool (not cold) location. Most will ripen. Some will not so you need to check every few days to ensure that some don’t get “bad”-moldy or weepy, affecting other tomatoes in the box.

If you haven’t picked, pull the whole tomato plant and hang upside down in a slightly warm to cool location.

This method requires less checking than the above as the tomatoes are more separated from each other.

Make fried green tomatoes. The recipe listed below uses less oil than the standard version in a variation of the ripe tomato Caprese Salad.

Carolina Caprese Salad

A Caprese Salad version with fried green tomatoes that can be made with a gluten-free coating (see Coating
Mix B). The best method I have found to fry the tomatoes is the simplest. It does not use a batter. As a result you don’t have to use a lot of oil. Simply dredge in the coating, rest and saute.

Ingredients

3 medium green tomatoes

Coating mix (see below to pick one)
2-4 T grapeseed or other oil suitable for high temperature cooking
8 oz fresh mozzarella
12 fresh basil leaves 2-3 T
balsamic vinaigrette

Coating Mix A-My favorite
½ C whole wheat flour
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper

Coating Mix B-Gluten Free
½ C very fine grained cornmeal, such as masa harina
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper

Coating Mix C-For those that can have gluten and want cornmeal on their tomatoes
½ C equal portions cornmeal and whole wheat flour
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper

Directions

1. Slice the green tomatoes thinly 1/8″ to 1/4″ at the most. Dip in coating mix and let sit for an hour. The sitting time really helps the flour stay on when cooking. If tomatoes are still watery, blot with a paper towel and add more coating before sauteeing.

2. While the tomatoes are resting, slice the fresh mozzarella into 12 slices.

3. When tomatoes are ready: Heat a cast-iron or other fry pan that holds heat fairly evenly approximately 350 degrees F. Once pan is hot, add oil.

4. Place tomato slices into hot oil. Do not crowd. Cook on each side until brown. Remove and drain on a
paper towel. You do not need a lot of oil for this as you would for a batter-fried tomato, but you do need to have a preheated pan and heated oil.

5. Assemble the salad. Place one slice fried green tomato on a plate, topped with a basil leaf and slice of mozzarella. Continue in a ring until all slices are paired with the basil and cheese. Drizzle the balsamic vinaigrette over, or serve on the side. This can be served warm or cold, but is best served warm.

Note: Some oils are better suited to high heat than others. Grapeseed and non-hydrolyzed canola oil are much better suited for this than olive oil.