Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fried Green Tomatoes and Ostrich

I like tomatoes in all forms.  I'd say "love" but my second grade teacher once told the class that you cannot "love food"  or "a thing".  You can only "love a person".  Back in the day, if a teacher said it was so, it was so.  However, I really do LOVE tomatoes.  The day I know they are going to appear in the farmers' market, I make sure to be first in line and bring home way too many just the right amount to feast on until the next Saturday.  And I lament the last market of the season.  Alas, by the last market, there have been cold nights which aren't kind to tomatoes on the vine and limits their "staying" power on the windowsill.  It's then that I pick up green tomatoes.  Those that will not ripen on the windowsill.

My southern mother considered green tomatoes a real boon in the garden.  Sometimes she was overzealous in picking them, frying them up and leaving none for salads or BLTs.  Some years ago, after mother came to live with us, she expressed a taste for fried green tomatoes.  We made the appropriate purchase and she instructed me on the preparation of the green beauties.

On the day we were to lunch on the tomatoes, our dear Hungarian friend, Judith G. called to ask what we were doing for lunch.  Judith was a cooking instructor and caterer.  She had been to a chefs' meeting the night before and had brought home fresh ostrich from a demonstration at the meeting.  When I told her mother and I were having fried green tomatoes, she said she'd be right over with the ostrich and would prepare it to accompany the tomatoes.  And that is how we came to lunch upon sauteed ostrich and fried green tomatoes on a summer's day in the midwest.

(Recipe from my mother and me)

2 nice, firm green tomatoes (or more if you like)
salt and pepper
egg, beaten
corn meal or plain bread crumbs
vegetable oil for frying

In full disclosure, my only change to mother's recipe is the use of bread crumbs instead of corn meal.

Slice the tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick.

Salt and pepper both sides.

Dredge the slices in flour and shake off.

Dip the slices in the beaten egg.

Dredge the slices in the bread crumbs.

Over medium-high flame, heat the oil until hot.

Fry (mother never "sauteed") the tomatoes until lightly browned on both sides.