Try this Eastern twist on a Southern American favorite. The zing from limes and chilies complements the natural tang of green tomatoes, while the crunchy coconut balances out the heat.
2 to 3 medium green tomatoes
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3 1/2 tbsp Thai seasoning blend
2 large eggs
Dollop fresh cream or half-and-half
Zest of one lime
1 1/2 cups finely ground breadcrumbs (Note: If using store-bought seasoned breadcrumbs or homemade breadcrumbs from herbed breads, be sure to adjust the other seasonings in this recipe to suit your tastes.)
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut, grated (You can use raw or toasted coconut.)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
3/4 cup coconut oil
Tomatoes. Slice the tomatoes into quarter-inch-thick slices. Pat dry with paper towels. Season with sea salt and white pepper, to taste. (Beware that you will use these seasonings in the outer coatings, as well.)
Flour Mixture. Mix together the flours, and feel free to adjust the proportion of white to whole-wheat flour. Using at least a little bit of all-purpose white flour will help keep the breading light. Mix in a tablespoon of the Thai seasoning blend. Pour onto a plate or low bowl, and set aside.
Egg Mixture. Beat the eggs with the cream, then stir in the lime zest and a tablespoon of the seasoning blend. Pour into a low dish and set aside.
Breadcrumb Mixture. If using homemade breadcrumbs, pulverize in a food processor or blender until finely ground. Mix in the ground coconut, chopped cilantro and a tablespoon of the seasoning blend. Don't overdo the seasoning if your breadcrumbs are pre-seasoned. Pour the breadcrumb mixture onto a plate or low bowl, and set aside.
Preparing the Tomatoes. Dredge each tomato first in the flour; then in the egg wash, letting the excess drip back into the bowl; then coat thoroughly with the breadcrumb-cconut mixture. Let the tomato slices rest on a plate while you heat the coconut oil.
Time to Fry! Heat the oil in a wide sauté pan over medium-high heat. Fry in batches (not too crowded), until golden and crispetty-crunchy on each side, about a minute or two per side. Remove with a metal slotted spoon, and drip-dry on paper towels.
Time to Eat! Serve your Thai green tomatoes while still warm, garnished with lime wedges and torn cilantro, and sprinkled with the seasoning blend. They'll make a nice addition to any Thai meal, or you can offer them up as a stand-alone appetizer. To make the Thai green tomatoes the star of the meal, serve them over lime-scented jasmine rice with crispy bean sprouts and a drizzle of spicy peanut sauce.
Photo by Tim Ackroyd/www.istockphoto.com