Anyone dining out in the South during the summer months knows that when you spot fried green tomatoes on the menu, you order them.Crunchy, tangy, and endlessly snackable, fried green tomatoes are a beloved appetizer that is as easy to make as it is to eat.
Yet despite its status as an iconic Southern recipe, the mention of fried green tomatoes typically yields a number of questions, both about the recipe and where it came from. Here, everything you need to know about the crispy starter, plus how to make, serve, and store them.
Fried green tomatoes are exactly as they sound: slices of green tomato dredged in a cornmeal mixture and fried until golden brown.
Upon mention, many people think of the 1991 movie of the same name starring Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy. The film Fried Green Tomatoes takes its name from the novel the movie is based on, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg.
The movie, which takes place in Alabama, is the main reason people associate Fried Green Tomatoes with the South—the recipe actually originated in the Midwest and northwest, according to food historian and Southern Living Contributing Barbecue Editor Robert F. Moss, and was likely brought there by Jewish immigrants. But once the Oscar-nominated film brought the dish into the mainstream, its popularity exploded—especially in the South.
4 large green tomatoes
1/2 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 quart vegetable oil for frying1. Slice tomatoes 1/2 inch thick. Discard the ends.
- Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium-size bowl. Scoop flour onto a plate. Mix cornmeal, bread crumbs and salt and pepper on another plate. Dip tomatoes into flour to coat. Then dip the tomatoes into milk and egg mixture. Dredge in breadcrumbs to completely coat.
- In a large skillet, pour vegetable oil (enough so that there is 1/2 inch of oil in the pan) and heat over a medium heat. Place tomatoes into the frying pan in batches of 4 or 5, depending on the size of your skillet. Do not crowd the tomatoes, they should not touch each other. When the tomatoes are browned, flip and fry them on the other side. Drain them on paper towels.