I have just made and tasted my first EVER fried green tomato!
Now, I understand this may not be such a big deal to most of you, and I understand you may be wondering how this could possibly be healthy
ish. First, let me tell you why I made these.
At some point in my early childhood, I remember seeing a movie where a boy was hit by a train getting his foot stuck in the track. Every time I walked on a train track (my mom would have had a cow if she had known), I thought of this movie, but I couldn't quite remember the name. Later, when I started dating my husband, the movie came back up in conversation once. After watching it, I was reminded of a simpler time in my life. Maybe that is all this lifelong wonder over fried green tomatoes has been about. Maybe it was the camaraderie of the southerners that made me wonder if they knew something I didn't. Maybe it was my inherent tie to the south, deeply rooted in my dad's side of the family. Who really knows?
Whichever, I always wondered just what was so great about a fried green tomato. I mean, they named an entire movie about it. Something had to be special, right?
Well, I hate to break it to you, but I still can't pinpoint the exact reason these are so coveted. I don't mean to say they didn't taste good. I just don't know what exactly it was that keeps people coming back. I do know, however, that upon eating these first ever fried green tomatoes, I felt I was sharing some sort of bond with my southern family, the grandmother I will never know that had 13 children, woke up before dawn to cook for them all and, from what I hear, rarely sat down or enjoyed much of the meals herself. I wonder what life lessons she might have shared with me?
Anyway...let's talk about what makes these so much more healthy
ish than any other fried green tomato. First, they are gluten free! Second, they are egg free. Last, they are fried in coconut oil.
"Wait... Didn't I hear that coconut oil was like, the root of all evil?" you might be thinking to yourself. No, no, silly. That was just another of the government's hair-brained, under-studied, over-generalizations. You can read all about the wonderful tropical secret in this awesome book: Virgin Coconut Oil.
Just one more thing, and then I promise I will give you the recipe. ;) Don't you want to know what I thought of my first ever fried green tomato? Well, here goes. It was tangy... or tart. It had a zing. It was slightly crunchy, slightly soft, mildly salty, and overall, I kept chewing, swallowing, sitting for a second to ponder, cutting, chewing, and swallowing. Each bite made me feel a little warm inside, but as for flavor, I just don't think these will automatically become something I crave (Though, these days, I don't fight the battle of cravings anymore. More on that later.) What do you think? Do you go back to fried green tomatoes for the flavor or for a deeply rooted family memory? I'd love to hear your own fried green tomato stories.
Now...here is my recipe, adapted and tweaked from Lexie's Kitchen.
Gluten Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free Fried Green Tomatoes
- 1 Large Organic Green Tomato
- 1/4c. Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 tsp to 3/4 tsp paprika
- 1/2 to 3/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup or so non-dairy milk (I used Silk unsweetened Almond)
- 1/2 cup organic virgin coconut oil (or enough to coat the bottom of the skillet about 1/4 to 1/2")
- 1 sheet parchment paper
- Pre-heat oven to 400.
- Slice tomato 1/8" to 1/4" thick. I read that if you slice them too thin, they will not have the tangy flavor of the tomato, and if you slice them too thick, they will not cook enough before the crust is done.
- In a small bowl, mix the flour, salt, garlic powder and paprika. In another small bowl, pour the almond milk.
- Prepare your coconut oil in the skillet, letting it melt all the way down if it is not liquid at your room temperature.
- Place the tomato slices on a shallow baking pan lined with parchment paper. This is a Paula Deen trick to making fried green tomatoes. :) Lightly salt each side of the tomatoes and pop them in the pre-heated oven for 2 to 3 minutes. Paula Deen says that green tomatoes hold a lot of water, and putting them in the oven cooks off some of that water so you don't have mushy fried tomatoes. It worked for me.
- Take the tomato slices out. Let them cool or use tongs. Dust each side of the tomato with the flour mixture. Dip the tomato slices into milk and dredge them through the tomato mixture. Place them in the heated oil. If it does not sizzle as you place it in, it is not hot enough. I read that foods are normally fried around 350 to 375 degrees. If you want to, check the oil temp before putting any tomatoes in.
- Fry until light golden brown, flipping carefully and frying both sides. My electric burner was on high heat and this took only a couple of minutes for each side.
- Remove to a paper towel covered plate. Allow to cool and enjoy! I sprinkled a bit of salt on one side of the tomatoes before drying the oil.
*Let it be known that my tomato-hating husband ate an entire slice and said, "They're not bad." Hehehe...