Celebrating the Hanover Fried Green Tomato: Blogfest, Part 4Posted: July 12, 2011
Tasting the Hook & Ladder 43’s fried green tomatoes at the Hanover Tomato Festival on Saturday, I recalled a delicious memory. A few summers ago, my daughter and I made the pilgrimage to food mecca, i.e. The Lady & Sons, Paula Deen‘s signature restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. My daughter was a huge fan of her show, Paula’s Home Cooking, and I was thrilled to have an excuse to explore the beautiful city of Savannah. Travelling from our home-base of Hilton Head Island, we had to get to town early to make our walk-up reservation for lunch. While it first seemed like a bit of a hassle, we had such a memorable dining experience that I immediately had to purchase Paula’s two-volume Country Cookbook Box Set, which includes The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook and The Lady & Sons, Too.
Our lunch that day began with the first appetizer on The Lady & Sons menu, Fried Green Tomatoes. The tomatoes were huge and the tastiest that I had ever tried. The appetizer portion could have been a meal in itself. Fortunately, we only ordered one serving to share. Once I sampled this warm and crunchy version, I decided that I would learn to make them myself. Using our fresh local Hanover green tomatoes and my favorite not-so-secret ingredient, I have adapted Ms. Deen’s simple recipe Fried Green Tomatoes recipe from the Lady & Sons, Too (page 111) to give them a Virginia twist.
As Paula teaches, the key to creating a great fried green tomato is the tomato preparation. After slicing your firm green tomatoes about 1/4″ thick, lay them in a colander placed over the sink and sprinkle well with salt. Let them sit that way for about thirty minutes to draw the water out. Then mop up any water still sitting on top of the tomatoes before cooking.
Here’s all you need.
- 3-4 large firm Hanover green tomatoes sliced 1/4″ thick
- 2 cups vegetable or peanut oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 1 tablespoon (or more to taste) Old Bay Seasoning
Lay tomato slices in a colander over the sink and sprinkle liberally with salt. Let sit for about 30 minutes to allow water to pull out of the tomato. Gently wipe the tomatoes dry.
Mix the flour and Old Bay in a wide bowl or high-sided dish. Place buttermilk in another bowl.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large cast-iron skillet or deep fryer.
Dip tomato slices in buttermilk then the flour mixture and place in oil. Be careful not to overcrowd the skillet. You will need to cook in at least a few batches depending on the size of your tomatoes. When the edges look brown, gently turn. Continue cooking until they are golden brown. Remove to a plate layered with paper towels to drain and continue with remaining batches.
Serves about 6.
Thanks for the basic recipe, Paula. Transform Fried Green Tomatoes from Georgia-born to pure Virginian when you use Hanover tomatoes and our beloved Old Bay Seasoning. Enjoy!
All photos by Avad Fan.