I'll take fried green tomatoes almost any way you throw them at me, but I like to boost the classic preparation of this Southern specialty by adding hard grated cheese to the breadcrumb mixture. The cheese melts into the crusts as they fry, which is of course tasty, but is also useful for keeping the breading together.
2 to 3 medium green tomatoes
Dash sea salt
3 1/2 tbsp Cajun seasoning blend
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 large eggs
Dollop fresh cream or half-and-half
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 grated hard cheese, such as Parmesan or Gruyere (Note: A nutty cheese is particularly nice with the zesty flavor of green tomatoes.)
3/4 cup peanut or other frying oil
Tomatoes. Slice the tomatoes into quarter-inch-thick slices. Pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with a little salt. Let the tomato slices rest while you prepare the breading mixtures.
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 Cajun seasoning blend. Pour onto a plate or low bowl, and set aside.
Egg Mixture. Beat the eggs with the cream and a tablespoon of the Cajun seasoning. 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 a tablespoon of the Cajun seasoning, but 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-cheese mixture. Let the tomato slices rest on a plate while you heat the oil.
Time to Fry! Heat the oil in a wide saute 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 fried green tomatoes while still warm, with a sprinkle of Cajun seasoning over them. Try offering them up as a snack or appetizer; a sandwich filling or salad topping; or as a main course with whole grain pilaf and steamed vegetables. When it's just the right time of year (usually late summer or early fall), I like to serve fried green tomatoes side-by-side with fresh, ripe, juicy tomatoes for an interesting and playful garden-fresh meal. And if you want to get really tomato crazy, try roasting some tomatoes and blending them with creamy roasted garlic, fresh herbs, and a soft cheese, such as sour cream, thick yogurt, or crème fraiche, for a tomato-ey dip to accompany your fresh and fried tomatoes!
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