Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Tomatoes

what winter dreams are made of..
Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Tomatoes
Oh fried tomatoes, I will long for you when the snow is falling.

During the long New England winter I dream about these tomatoes. I lie in bed during the seemingly endless cold nights, in flannel pajamas under three layers of heavy blankets, and fantasize about bare legs, short sleeves and a griddle full of these sizzling away on the stove. The kitchen slowly fills with their delicate scent of and then like magic they appear, a heaping pile of crispy summery perfection. Topped with generous scoops of homemade pesto, fresh basil leaves and lemon wedges. They are devoured in a frenzy, tomato juices running down my chin, ultimately utensils are forsaken and extra bits of crispy breading 
get scooped up with bare fingers. 

We're talking ultimate foodie fantasy here, people. 

Calendar days are counted down and crossed off, days get longer and then...

In the summertime, tomatoes burst forth from sagging vines and fantasies turn to reality. If these aren't on the menu at least once a week, withdrawal symptoms begin to set in. The season is all too brief, and we've got to bank what dirty, sexy tomato memories we can for the next long, dark winter. 

Tomato line-up.
A few recipe notes:
Look for ripe but firm tomatoes. Tomatoes on the softer side will work fine but firmer will stand up better to frying. 
A large cast iron or non-stick pan or griddle will work best.
The flax mixture, once mixed and allowed to sit, should be slightly gelatinous and resemble the texture of a beaten egg. If you find that the mix is not thick enough, microwave it for 15-20 seconds then stir. 
Any type of unsweetened non-dairy milk will work, I prefer coconut or hemp. 
These taste best fresh off the griddle and do not keep well, so plan on eating them all ASAP.

Tomatoes, ready to be sliced, flax seed, ground and whole, and spices.

Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Tomatoes
(serves 4)
4 large, firm, ripe tomatoes
2 Tbsp flax seeds, ground
6tbsp boiling water
1/2c non dairy milk
1cup cornmeal
1c all purpose flour
1Tbsp ground sea salt 
1Tbsp finely minced oregano
1 1/2tsp finely minced basil
1tsp ground black pepper
1Tbsp finely minced garlic
about 1/4c canola or olive oil, for frying.

Wash and core tomatoes and cut into 1/2" slices.
In a medium bowl whisk together ground flax seeds and boiling water, allow to thicken and cool.

Combine cornmeal, flour, oregano, basil, black pepper, garlic and salt and stir. 
Once flax mixture is slightly cooled and gelatinous, whisk in non-dairy milk.

Heat a stove top griddle or large nonstick pan over medium high heat.
Add enough oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan.
You can use a silicone pastry brush to get a thin, evenly distributed layer of oil.

Dredge tomato slices first through flour mix, into wet mixture, and back into flour again, making sure they are fully coated. 
Add to hot pan and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, 
adding an extra drizzle of oil as needed. 
If using a large griddle, you should be able to cook all the tomatoes in one batch. 
If using a smaller pan, split into two batches. 
Serve immediately with pesto, fresh basil or a lemon wedge.

No comments:

Post a Comment