Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fried Green Tomato Pizza

Remember that movie? The one where the dissatisfied middle-aged housewife becomes friends with the elderly woman at the nursing home and hears a tale of love and abuse and suspected murder? The one where the main plot twist involves barbecuing the abusive husband and serving him to the mean police officer? (Oh sorry, did I spoil that for anyone...)

Movie titles aside, fried green tomatoes turn out to be the perfect pizza topping for all of you gardeners currently gazing wistfully at the never-to-ripen tomatoes left on your vines. I guess technically you could pick green tomatoes all summer long, but it seems like a fall food to me. A final recognition that the harvest is winding down and the cold is settling in.

  1. First, prepare three bowls for breading the tomatoes. In one shallow bowl or pan, put 1/4 cup all-purpose flour.
  2. In a glass measuring cup or similarly deep bowl, combine 1 lightly beaten egg and 1/2 cup buttermilk. (If you don't have buttermilk on hand, you can put a tablespoon of white vinegar in your measuring cup first, then fill up to the 1/2 cup mark with regular milk. Let it sit for a few minutes before adding the egg.)
  3. In another shallow bowl or pan, combine 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  4. Slice 3 medium-sized green tomatoes into 1/4-inch slices.
  5. Dredge the tomato slices in the plain flour first, then dip them in the egg mixture, then dredge them in the cornmeal mixture so they have a nice coating. Flour doesn't stick very well to the juicy tomatoes, so it might not look even.
  6. Pour about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a heavy skillet and heat on medium. Put the tomatoes in a single layer in the hot oil and cook about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. 
  7. Remove and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.
We decided to fry some jalapeƱos while we were at it, so just slice them up and follow the same steps above.

At this stage, I highly recommend helping yourself to a fried green tomato appetizer. Yum yum.

Now, if you still have any fried tomatoes left after your taste-test, it's time to prepare the pizza itself. Layer the toppings in this order:
  1. Very best pizza crust ever, par-baked with a drizzle of olive oil and 2 chopped garlic gloves sprinkled on the top
  2. Grated mozzarella
  3. The fried green tomatoes, evenly spaced across the top (and fried jalapeƱos if you choose!)
  4. Chopped red bell peppers or mild cherry peppers
  5. Chopped chives
Bake at 450 degrees for 5 minutes to crisp up the crust and reheat the tomatoes. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.

(Look at those two balls of dough in the background! More pizza en route!)

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