Fried Green Tomatoes
Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan fried green tomatoes! This recipe comes from Chef Richard Ruben’s “The Farmer’s Market Cookbook.”
I like this recipe because it’s easy to convert the ingredients for a smaller serving size. Also, if you’ve never fried anything before, this is a good recipe to start with.
1.5 pounds green tomatoes (underripe)
2 cups cornmeal
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1.5 cups Dijon mustard
½ cup canola oil
The cornmeal makes this gluten-free and the Dijon mustard makes it vegan, dairy-free, and egg-free.
We’ll start with washing & drying the tomatoes, then slicing them into half inch thick slices. This is really thick! I’m cutting my slices in half because I’m using a small pan. For only two tomatoes, I don’t want to waste multiple cups of precious oil to fill a large pan. I can fit more of the smaller pieces into the small pan.
Now coat the tomatoes in dijon mustard. I’m trying two ways: stirring the pieces in a bowl with lots of mustard or using a pastry brush to liberally coat each piece. I think the brush works better for getting more mustard on the tomato. You can’t get too much mustard on the tomatoes. The dijon really makes this recipe special.
Then dredge each piece through a cornmeal, salt, and pepper mix, lightly patting the mixture into the tomatoes.
Now heat about an inch of oil in a skillet or pan. I’m using a 1 quart saute pan here. I’ve dropped some of the cornmeal in the oil to test how hot it is and it looks ready to go. The oil should sizzle as soon as you lay the tomatoes in, otherwise it is too cool and will cause you to have greasy, heavy-tasting fried tomatoes. In hindsight, it could be a touch hotter. So I’m adding in a few small pieces at a time and letting them cook for about 4 minutes, or until golden brown.
One of the reasons I know the oil could be hotter was because I was cooking them for about 6 minutes before the crust would get brown. My first couple batches came out nearly perfect. Later on, I got sloppy and the crust started falling apart. I also think the oil cooled from all the food being placed in it, so I should have turned up the heat a tad as I cooked the later batches.
The best oil to use is canola oil. Normally, I don’t cook with canola oil because it is so heavily processed for consumption, but I also don’t fry much, so for an occasional use, it’s fine. Coconut oil is also wonderful for frying, if you like the coconut flavor it gives. In my batch, I used a mixture of oils I had available, including coconut & grapeseed oil.
As for how to discard cooking oil, consult your city sanitation website. In NYC, the best way to discard oil is to transfer the cooled oil to a jar or plastic container, seal, and throw it away. Never discard oil down the drain. It can clog the pipes and cause all sorts of problems later on.
Transfer the cooked tomatoes to a paper towel to drain. Serve immediately or keep warm in an oven for an hour at 175 degrees.
In the video, you can see in my earlier batches that the crust completely surrounds the tomato. In later batches, it’s falling off. I got sloppy and tired. This is also just from two tomatoes, so you have an idea of how much two tomatoes yields.