In attempts to squeeze out the last remaining days of summer, I have been reflecting on some of the ultimate yummies of summer produce. One of these is, of course, tomatoes!
As a child, I remember watching the movie Fried Green Tomatoes and being fascinated with the concept. Despite growing up in the lower Midwest (U.S.) where both southern and northern cuisines influence what is customary to eat, I didn’t hear of fried green tomatoes until Hollywood re-popularized the concept via a movie title.
Being naturally inquisitive about food from an early age, I was eager to try them. Although I can’t remember when or where my first taste occurred, I do remember my response to them was not favorable. In fact, I thought they were terrible! We didn’t fry a lot of food in my family, but it wasn’t as though the concept was completely foreign.
Later on in life while living in Atlanta, I finally had a taste of what fried green tomatoes are most likely suppose to taste like. Usually made with cornmeal or a mixture of it with flour and often with buttermilk and/or butter, a well made fried green tomato is a savory addition to a meal or as an appetizer.
However, implications related to consumption of fried foods, likely ones I don’t need to ramble on about, and potential challenges to those with certain dietary restrictions may put these savory little slices off limits.
Therefore, I sought out to play around with these boogers to see what I could come up with. Turns out, pan-seared in coconut oil is not half bad. It’s certainly not the rich, savory flavor that a battered and fried option might provide, however, it’s much better with regards to the smoke point and nutritional quality for the oil. Using this method also presents a great time to play with spices, such as a little smoked paprika, black pepper, and quality salt.
Regardless of seasoning (or not), something about the green tomato and it’s slight tart consistency paired with the richness of coconut oil really works. I definitely recommend it. I know some have sensitivities to coconut oil or just want to use a variety of options in food preparation and, therefore, I would also like to try other options with higher smoke points. (See note below about oil quality and smoke points).
Most likely a garden, farmer, or farmers market will have the best organic green tomatoes. I’m definitely an advocate of food sourcing from these options when possible and seasonal shopping usually saves $$$. Although mid-summer months are typically the primo range for tomatoes, the later days of the season should still provide some viable options.
- Find some great organically sourced green tomatoes, local if you can.
- Play with spices/seasoning and oil options.
- Slice and pan sear until lightly browned on a low-medium quality pan, such as cast iron (pictured). I also recommend heartier slices of approximately 1/2″ wide.
In the spirit of “Live Healthful”, I welcome any other tips for using green tomatoes in a “not so fried” way.
***Essentially, hydrogenated oil use should be avoided and good oils should be used in cooking according to their appropriate smoke point. Typically coconut oil or certain tree nut options, such as macadamia or walnut have higher smoke points. Rotating out options is a great idea for balance of related nutrient intake and variety of flavors.
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