Panko Fried Green Tomatoes

You can ask many long time Southerner’s about fried green tomatoes and they won’t remember eating them growing up, but needless to say they have become a Southern staple. Why? I believe it has more to do with Fannie Flagg’s book and the subsequent movie than any true regional origin. You know what, that’s okay because they’re delightful when done correctly.

4 medium green tomatoes, cut in ¼-inch slices
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup cream
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 to 3 cups panko bread crumbs
¾ cup vegetable oil, plus more as needed

Lay the tomato slices on a platter and season both sides with the salt and pepper.  Beat the eggs and cream together in a small bowl and transfer to a shallow dish.

Place the flour and panko in their own separate, shallow dishes. Arrange your three-stage breading assembly line in this order: sliced tomatoes, flour, egg wash, then panko. Have a dry plate ready to hold the breaded tomatoes until you are ready to fry them.

Place the seasoned tomatoes in the flour and coat well. Dip the floured tomato slices into the egg wash and thoroughly coat on both sides, then transfer to the panko, pressing the slices into the breading to ensure a nice, even coating. Remove the slices from the panko and place on the dry plate. Bread all the tomatoes before you start frying.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, fry the tomatoes a few pieces at a time. Fry for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Carefully remove the tomatoes from the pan with tongs and drain on paper towels. As you remove the hot tomatoes from the pan, season with a little sprinkle of salt. Add more oil to the pan and repeat.

Serve with your favorite dressing or sauce: buttermilk dressing, ranch dressing, garlic aioli, etc.

Tomato Tartare with Pickled Vegetables and Jumbo Head-on Shrimp

Serves 4

 3 Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped

Kosher Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

2 Teaspoons Finely Minced Shallot

1 Teaspoon Minced Chives

Fresh Thyme Sprigs

 

1 Bunch White Asparagus

1 Jar Pickled Asparagus

¼ Pound Haricot Verts

8 Baby Carrots

½ Pound Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half

Baby Arugula

Fresh Herbs

 

8 Head On Jumbo Shrimp

2 Tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning

½ Cup Vinegar

½ Cup Water

 

½ Cup Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

½ Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

Herbs de Provence, to taste

Take tomatoes in a bowl and toss with shallot, chives, finely chopped thyme and salt and pepper to taste.  In a bowl mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and herbs de Provence.  Whisk to create emulsion.

Bring small pot of salted water to boil.  Blanch white asparagus, haricot verts and baby carrots.  Individually place the vegetables in boiling water for a few minutes or until tender.  Immediately move to an ice bath to stop cooking and preserve color.

In a pot add vinegar, water and Old Bay seasoning.  Bring to a boil.  Add shrimp and cover.  Boil for 2 minutes and check shrimp so as to not overcook.  Shrimp should be opaque.  Immediately remove to ice bath.

Place a 3 inch ring mold on a plate.  Place about 4-5 teaspoons of tomato tartare in the center and use the back of a spoon to spread mixture so it fills bottom of mold.  Lift the ring mold and repeat on other three plates.  Toss white asparagus, haricot verts, carrots with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar mixture.  Place vegetables, baby arugula and fresh herbs carefully on top of tomato tartare.  Drizzle with balsamic mixture.  Add two shrimp to each plate and serve immediately.

Basic Pimento Cheese

The so called pâté of the South isn’t really very Southern at all. No, pimento cheese got its start up North—in New York, in fact—as a product of industrial food manufacturing and mass marketing.  Like other food items though it was perfected in the South.  There’s a multitude of pimento cheese recipes out there, but we’ll start with this basic one and introduce fancied up one’s later.

½ cup mayonnaise
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained
1 tablespoon grated onion with juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1½ cups lightly packed shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese
1½ cups lightly packed coarsely shredded sharp white cheddar cheese

In a medium bowl add the mayo, pimentos, onion, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and cayenne together. Fold in the cheeses to thoroughly combine. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld.