Last night we had our first batch of fried green tomatoes. Along with some chicken The Missus Herself did up on the grill after letting it marinate in a delicious concoction of olive oil and a bunch of other ingredients.
Now those tomatoes may look different from other fried green tomatoes you may have seen in your life. There's a reason for that. But first, I haven't gone to Wikipedia in a while for a definition, so I'll do that now.
Fried green tomatoes are a side dish usually found in the Southern United States, made from unripe (green) tomatoes coated with cornmeal and fried. WikipediaThe reason ours look different is because The Missus Herself fries them up using a tempura batter, not cornmeal. Why, you may ask, would she do that?
Well, once upon a time I was explaining fried green tomatoes to her. Not being a cook myself, I wasn't sure what my Mom had used to make this delicacy when we were kids. I thought it was just plain old flour.
So the first time The Missus did a batch (the grocer thought she was insane when she asked for unripe tomatoes - obviously this was not in the South) she used plain old flour. While they came out okay, they weren't what Mom used to make.
So she applied logic. What does one deep fry things in when in Asia? Why tempura of course. So the next batch was done up using a tempura batter. Excellent and to this day, that's how we do fried green tomatoes at Chez Sarge.
Now about that "usually found in the Southern United States" thing, well, we had them when we were kids. Not sure where that recipe came from, but rest assured, the only South I grew up in was Southern Vermont. Ain't 'zactly Mississippi or Alabama, innit?
Perhaps the recipe came from the same grandmother who used the term "cattywampus" when we were young. My maternal grandmother was well-traveled though I don't believe she ever got further south in her life than Connecticut. Though I may be wrong. Might have been Cousin Gus. He was career Navy and he did get around, a lot. Lives out in California now-a-days. Oakland I think.
Anyhoo, it may be primarily a Southern dish, but I had it as a boy in Vermont. Then again, I never had good grits until I went to Charleston, where they make the best grits in the world. Or so a buddy of mine from South Carolina told me. I tried them in an Air Force chow hall once, the library paste we used to snack on in summer Bible school was much better.
So to my knowledge, South Carolina does have the best grits in the world.
If you're ever in Charleston, you should eat at this place...
(Warning blatant advertisement coming up. I don't care, I loved the food at this place. Besides which, I am not against someone making an honest living, especially if they're good at it!)
Oh yeah, try the grits. They're excellent!