Fried Green Tomatoes, Two Spicy Sauces and One Great Burger
So, I was at the Farmers Market the other day, where I could probably hang out everyday if it was possible, and I saw some great things: fruit, artichoke flowers, colorful purses, Z-pies (frozen little pot pies), cheeses, breads and–Green Tomatoes!
I do love Farmers Markets and I do love Fried Green Tomatoes. I also purchased some Buffalo Mozzarella from Dedrick’s Cheese (a little cheese shop based in Placerville.)
I have made Fried Green Tomatoes before but this time I found a recipe that called for cornmeal and Panko for the breading and 4 dipping sauces that looked pretty interesting. Now, to talk Yes!Chef! into cooking them for me. I had spent a few days with a good friend of mine in Lake Tahoe and the hubster was due to come up over the weekend. Surely, I could talk him into making them for me. Maybe I will tell him that the spicy sauces will help my allergies. How could he refuse?
Obie and I decided to take a walk while we were waiting for him to arrive.
The bouquet of flowers (top right) was brought to me by a friend of my daughter who stayed here overnight a few days before. What a nice young man. The other pictures are just things that I found interesting or beautiful while we were on our walk.
When Yes!Chef! arrived, he came bearing home-ground hamburger. Just the thing to go with our fried green tomatoes. Yes!Chef! has been experimenting with different blends for his burger and this one was a 50/50 blend of chuck and short ribs. We had already tried this mouth-watering burger about a week prior to this one, and so I was very excited to try it again. Yes!Chef! agreed to make my tomatoes, but I don’t think he was too enthused. When I told him that I would also be making 2 spicy dipping sauces, he looked more interested and agreed to the task.
This is a relatively easy recipe to make, however, it is messy. Yes!Chef! cut the tomatoes into roughly 1/2″ slices and laid them out on plates. He then mixed together the dry ingredients. (Economy note: Don’t bother trying to find self-rising cornmeal that you will probably never use again. To make 1 cup self-rising cornmeal, take 3/4 cup cornmeal plus 3 tablespoons, mix in 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt. That’s it!)
Then he laid out three different “stations” that the tomatoes would go through. Flour plate, then egg whites, then dry mix, then frying pan. He also uses the wet hand/dry hand method. Use one hand to dip tomatoes in dry ingredients and the other hand for the egg whites. Otherwise you end up with breaded fingers and you have to wash after every tomato. Don’t forget to season the tomatoes before you start the dipping process. “Layer the flavor”, Yes!Chef! always says. (He’s very wise and pithy.)
We decided to make two of the sauces from the recipe: Sriracha Remoulade and Citrus Ginger Aioli. I made the Ginger sauce and Yes!Chef! made the one with Sriracha. (If you are not familiar with Sriracha, you will find it in the Asian food section. It is an excellent hot sauce that is not overpowering. I like this hot sauce better than Tobasco Sauce because it is a smoother tasting sauce…not so vinegar-y.)
Here, I will insert a little editorial taste note. Both sauces have mayo as a base which makes them very rich sauces. They were also a little thick for my taste. I wanted to make the base with Greek Yogurt and add a little mayo, but Yes!Chef! said we should try it according to the recipe the first time we make it and then we can experiment from there. I think that is a good idea, in general, because then you know what the sauce is supposed to taste like. We both thought the sauces were delicious, bold and spicy, but they were just too rich for us paired with the fried tomatoes. Later, we mixed in some Greek Yogurt, which made the sauces thinner, but of course the flavor was diluted. We both agreed that next time we would use more Greek Yogurt (a healthier choice, anyway) and maybe just a touch of mayo.
The fried green tomatoes had an excellent crunch because of the Panko (also found in the Asian food section) and the cornmeal. They were also nicely tart. The sauces took the tomatoes to another level. The sriracha sauce added a much needed zip and the Ginger sauce was full of great flavor due to the abundance of fresh ginger. (In fact, Yes!Chef! is using the remainder of the Ginger Sauce as a flavorful under-the-skin sauce for some grilled butterflied chicken that he is making as I type. I’ll let you know how that goes. My mouth is watering thinking about it.)
Now, I would like to mention the burger. It was perfectly cooked, of course, on the grill. He also added a couple of slices of very sharp cheddar cheese. I decided to forgo the bun, and so I prepared a bed of chopped Romaine lettuce, a thick slice of a ripe tomato for the burger to rest upon. (Sounds so poetic!) It was a very satisfying meal, though, a bit rich with the sauces.
The next day I warmed up the remainder of the fried green tomatoes in a 400 degree oven for lunch. I layered two slices for each of us with some of the fresh Buffalo Mozzarella that I purchased from the Farmer’s market and warmed it up again until the cheese melted. I mixed the sauces with some Greek Yogurt and poured about 2 tablespoons over each tomato “sandwich”.
Were they good?
Here are the recipes with the original 4 sauces.
FRIED GREEN TOMATOES WITH 4 DIPPING SAUCES
(Source: Southern Living June 2012-recipe from Shannon Sliter Satterwhite)4 medium-size green tomatoes (about 1 1/3 lb.)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 c. self-rising white cornmeal mix
1/2 c. panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
4 egg whites
3 Tbsp. olive oilCut tomatoes into 1/2″ thick slices; sprinkle with salt and pepper; let stand 10 minutes.Combine cornmeal mix and panko in a shallow dish or pie plate. Place flour in a second shallow dish or pie plate. Whisk egg whites in a medium bowl until foamy.Dredge tomato slices in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg whites, and dredge in cornmeal mixture.Cook half of tomato slices in 1 1/2 Tbsp. hot oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat 4-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Season with salt to taste.Place on a wire rack in a jelly-roll pan, and keep warm in a 225 degree oven.Repeat procedure with remaining tomato slices and oil. Serve with the following dipping sauces. Makes about 20 slices.CITRUS GINGER AIOLI:
1 c. mayonnaise
1 tsp. lime zest
1 tsp. orange zest
4 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepperStir together mayonnaise, lime zest, orange zest, lime juice, orange juice, ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper until well mixed. Makes 1 1/4 cups.BLUE CHEESE-DILL SAUCE:
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. 2% low-fat plain yogurt
2 tsp. chopped fresh dill
2 oz. crumbled blue cheese
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. saltStir together sour cream, yogurt, dill, blue cheese, lemon juice, and salt. Makes 1 1/3 cups.SRIRACHA REMOULADE:
1 1/2 c. mayonnaise
4 green onions, sliced
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2-3 Tbsp. Asian Sriracha hot chili sauce
1 garlic clove, pressedStir together mayonnaise, green onions, parsley, hot chili sauce, and garlic until well mixed. Makes 2 cups.PEPPER JELLY SAUCE:
2/3 c. red pepper jelly
2 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1 tsp. orange zestStir together red pepper jelly, spicy brown mustard, horseradish, and orange zest until well mixed. Makes about 3/4 cup.