Fried tomatoes are an oxymoron of sorts, don’t you think? A garden fresh, healthy vegetable battered and fried. Pure indulgence, especially when paired with bacon.
In the South, a regular breakfast phenomenon is bacon and eggs served alongside fried tomatoes (green or red), according to John Egerton in his book Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History, which is considered a classic.
Not one for cooking such a “big” breakfast, an alternative was a must. This recipe is a modern twist on the consummate of sandwiches, the BLT, and keeps with Southern tradition by uniting fried green tomatoes and bacon in new form. The sandwich is surprisingly good – crisp and salty bacon, creamy garlic mayo, fresh lettuce (although I used spinach), and slightly tangy, crisp green tomatoes – together they are a mouthful of flavor.
Enjoy! Then go for a walk afterward to compensate.
Green tomatoes are optimal for this recipe because they are still immature and have a tangy taste and firm texture that stands up to coating and frying. I inadvertently sliced one that was green on the outside but starting to ripen on the inside, it was still good. For bread, go for something hearty – ciabbatta rolls work well.
Bacon Lettuce & Fried Green Tomato Sandwich
Makes 4 sandwiches
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced, optional
Fried Green Tomatoes
3 large firm green tomatoes
1/4 cup buttermilk or milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 dashes cayenne
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup cornmeal
Oil for frying
Salt and pepper
- Cook bacon and drain on paper towels. Make a quick garlic mayo by mixing mayonnaise and minced garlic. Cover and refrigerate.
- Cut tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices (slicing with the tomato on its side). Place on a cooling rack. Season slices on both sides with salt and pepper. Let sit 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare ingredients: use shallow dishes such as pie tins for each of the coating ingredients – beaten eggs, flour, milk and bread crumbs. In the flour dish, mix in the 1/2 teaspoons of salt and pepper, garlic powder and cayenne.
- Heat a large, heavy skillet with at least 2 tablespoons oil on medium-high heat.
- Prepare 4 tomato slices at a time: use a fork to dip each tomato in milk, then dredge in flour, shaking off excess and place on rack; when the 4 slices are done, dip each slice in eggs, then in corn meal. (Using a fork keeps coating on the slices rather than fingers.) Fry the coated tomato slices for about 5 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on a rack lined with paper towels. Repeat process, adding oil as needed.
- Build your BLFGT: slather bread with garlic mayonnaise, add lettuce, 2 – 3 fried green tomatoes, and bacon.