Well, I can’t speak for the rest of the country, but here in the Pacific Northwest, we haven’t had much sun this summer… but there’s a silver lining – I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot of green tomatoes! Of course, they are much-loved and celebrated in the South, but with such a short growing season that often results in more green tomatoes than we know what to do with, we should have festivals dedicated to them, too!
No matter where you live, though, there are some surefire ways to ripen green tomatoes. For smaller and cherry varieties, you can cut the vine and hang it up in your kitchen window. They’ll ripen slowly (and look pretty!).
For bigger tomatoes, one of my favorite tricks is to individually wrap unblemished green tomatoes with their stem still on. Store them in a box in a dark place and check them often for any molders and to see how the ripening is going. Using this method, I have enjoyed fresh garden tomatoes as far along as Thanksgiving!
If you’re ready to try your hand at cooking up some of those green tomatoes, they make a wonderful addition to chow chow relish or homemade green tomato mincemeat. You can even pickle the smaller ones for a really fab martini or Bloody Mary garnish! And who can resist them in the most famous preparation – Fried Green Tomatoes! I love serving them fresh out of them pan with a d’lish remoulade dipping sauce – the perfect late summer appetizer or a fun afternoon snack!
So don’t worry if your tomatoes are green – there’s lots of ways to enjoy them just as they are! – Kathy
Fried Green Tomatoes with Remoulade Sauce
Makes about 4-6 servings
1 cup flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tsps salt
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika or smoked Spanish paprika (pimentón)
4 – 5 large green tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch-thick crosswise slices (about 16 slices)
Vegetable oil or a mixture of oil and bacon drippings for frying
Remoulade Sauce (recipe follows)
Preheat an oven to 165° to 200°F. In a plate or shallow bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, and paprika with a fork.
Dredge the tomato slices, a few at a time, in the seasoned flour to coat well. Set the tomatoes aside on a lightly floured baking sheet. Reserve the flour mixture.
In a large skillet, heat 1/4 to 1/3 inch oil over medium heat. Fry the tomato slices in batches for about 2 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown on each side, turning as necessary. As the tomatoes are done, transfer them to a cake rack set on a baking pan to keep warm in the low oven.
Divide the tomatoes among individual plates and serve immediately, accompanied with the remoulade.
I also like to add a touch of horseradish to this for some extra kick!
Makes 1 cup
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsps finely chopped dill pickle
1 Tbsp drained capers, chopped
1/2 green onion, very thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp whole grain mustard
1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1/8 tsp celery seed
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients.
Chef’s Note: The sauce can be made up to 4 days in advance and refrigerated until needed.
Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table, Chronicle Books, San Francisco. Copyright © 2006 by Kathy Casey.