Summer is slowly coming to a close and the nights are finally getting just a wee bit chilly. Are you sad? Despite the overall lack of vacations, this was one of my most memorable summer yet. It was such a privilege and joy to be able to take 4 months off before starting school again to just relax, be spontaneous, and try new things. The garden was obviously a huge project, one that surprised me by how successful it was. It's been and continues to be immensely rewarding.
I made the mistake, while pruning some of the tomato plants, of clumsily knocking off a few of the heavier, green tomatoes. After kicking myself, I took the two tomatoes and looked into making some fried green tomatoes, which turned out to be perfect BLT material, a non-traditional version, of course. It was the perfect mid-day lunch after a full morning of pulling weeds, and best of all, not one tomato went to waste. As a side note, the aioli is purely optional to make and can easily be replaced by your favorite mayonnaise.
Fried Green Tomatoes:
- 2 green tomatoes, sliced about 1/4 of an inch thick
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- additional 1/4 cup all purpose flour, for dredging
- 1 tsp each salt and pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup canola or vegetable oil, for frying
First, heat up 1/4 to 1/2 inch vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet.
Combine 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl or pan. Prepare your station for batter-ing by lining up three shallow pans: flour, egg mixture, cornmeal / flour mixture. Dredge tomato slices in remaining 1/4 cup flour; dip in egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture.
Drop the tomato slices into hot oil, and cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels or a rack, sprinkling with salt when they come out.
Homemade Aioli (Adapted very slightly from NYT):
- 2 cloves garlic (or to taste)
- salt, about 1 tsp
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- juice of half a lemon
In a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic and salt into a smooth paste. Add the egg yolk into the mixture and stir. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, a few drops at a time. As the mixture begins to thicken, you can begin the add the oil a little faster in a steady stream. After the oil is mixed in, add the lemon juice and mix well. Taste, and adjust for more salt if necessary.
To assemble the sandwiches, toast your favorite bread (I like to use a thinly sliced sourdough, but plain white works just as well!) in a pan with plenty of butter. Even better is if you toast the bread int he same pan that was used for the bacon. Assemble the sandwiches with aioli (or mayo) on the inside of both pieces, bacon, lettuce, and fried tomatoes.