Every year I succumb to a certain malady. Actually, it’s more of an addiction that only another Southern can understand. Just when my tomatoes begin to bare fruit, I am overcome with an uncontrollable urge to pick them. I can never wait for the first fruit to ripen, no matter hard I try. I just have to pick them. Because one of the best things about growing tomatoes is fried green tomatoes!
There is an old adage — “I’m Southern, therefore I fry.” And that pretty much sums up the southern food experience. We fry everything! From chicken to pickles, it gets floured, batter dipped, or just plain dropped into the grease. There really isn’t much you can’t fry.
Growing up, there was always at least one fried item on the table for every meal. As I became older and discovered a love of cooking, my frying became less and less. I discovered Gourmet magazine, Savor, and The Great British Baking Show just to name a few. I experienced new foods such as Indian Curry, Gyros, Greek Salads, and Italian cuisine. But I never lost my love for the basics — crispy fried chicken, fried potatoes, fried pork chops, fried cabbage and best of all the fried green tomatoes.
So yesterday when Greg came in to tell me that we have “Green tomatoes the size of your fist,” I ran out to see. I told myself that if I would just wait I could enjoy sweet ripe tomatoes by the weekend. But the temptation was just too great and I picked the four biggest green ones. Out came the cast iron skillets and dinner was underway.
A lot of people dip their green tomatoes in an egg wash, then into flour or a batter, but we have always just put them into a bag of dry flour/cornmeal and shook them up good to cover evenly. I used my home rendered lard and laid them down in batches to fry.
Out they came, crispy and golden. With them I served our home grown pork chops (fried) and fried a head of our home grown cabbage.
The 4th of July is a celebration of our nation’s independence. What better way to celebrate this than with a show of our individual independence? Home grown food independent of chemicals and big Agri. Thank you to those “freedom fighters” then and now for the freedom to own my farm and grow my own food.
Photos property of Leah McAllister.