Southern Kitchen Bucket List : Fried Green Tomatoes.

This recipe is a part of my Southern Kitchen Bucket List series.

The popularity of this Southern dish surely rose from the movie of the same name, but their history goes back much further. The Farm is not too far from the original Whistlestop Cafe where Fried Green Tomatoes was filmed, and I’ve often wanted to go in to take a lesson from the experts there in the kitchen.

fresh green tomatoes in vintage colander / heirloomed

As I researched the history of this Southern classic, I stumbled upon evidence from old church cookbooks which shows that perhaps Fried Green Tomatoes aren’t really all that Southern after all and may have appeared earlier in the Ohio area and Jewish communities.  

Now, anyone who has ever grown tomatoes in their own garden knows that when the plants begin to overproduce there are only so many tomato recipe variations you can make at one time so utilizing the green ones before they’ve ripened is a no-brainer.

dry ingredients for fried green tomatoes / heirloomed
sliced green tomatoes / fried green tomatoes recipe / heirloomed
slicing fresh green tomatoes / fried green tomatoes recipe / heirloomed

This is one thing I’ve heard a lot of people ask, is a “green tomato” a special variety or simply a tomato that hasn’t fully ripened? The answer is in fact the latter, simple as that. 

I must admit I also love my green tomatoes picked (with a side of Bloody Mary, of course) and they really are just so beautiful when sliced and stacked in a jar of brine. 

But like any perfectly-fried food, this one is all about getting the right batter coating and consistency. I personally like Fried Green Tomatoes just about any way you can fix them and have had a variety of crusts over the years, from a more foamy, beer batter to my personal favorite which gives a crunchier texture with cornmeal and bread crumbs. 

dipping green tomato to dredge / heirloomed
dredging fried green tomatoes / heirloomed
fried green tomatoes in smithey ironware cast iron skillet / heirloomed

Fried Green Tomatoes

Yield: 4 Tomatoes
Author:
This southern classic is an absolute must during the summer. Try this delicious recipe with a tangy sauce of your choosing.

ingredients:

  • 4 medium green tomatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs, plain
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 quart vegetable oil

instructions:

How to cook Fried Green Tomatoes

  1. Slice green tomatoes to a medium thickness and set on a paper towel lined baking sheet to absorb some of the water moisture. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk egg and add milk, stirring to combine. In a separate medium bowl, combine flour, cornmeal and spices. On a plate, pour breadcrumbs and set aside.
  3. In a large cast iron skillet, begin heating your oil. Start coating your tomatoes by dipping one slice at a time in flour mixture, then egg mixture, then flour again, and finally full coating in breadcrumbs before carefully placing into hot oil in your cast iron skillet with tongs.
  4. Have a paper towel lined cookie sheet and bowl of kosher salt ready. Cook tomato on one side for approximately 2 minutes, turning to check for golden color. Flip and cook on the other side for approximately 2 more minutes. Remove from skillet and place on pan, immediately sprinkling salt on top for perfect seasoning.
  5. Serve plain or with dollop of sour cream or sprinkling of goat cheese and thyme. Enjoy!
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salting a pan of fried green tomatoes / heirloomed
plating a stack of fresh fried green tomatoes / heirloomed
fried green tomatoes / southern kitchen bucket list / heirloomed
stack of garnished fried green tomatoes / heirloomed

I absolutely love to try Fried Green Tomatoes, especially in an “elevated Southern” kind of restaurant whenever they have them on the menu. Love to know your favorite way to top them. I prefer mine savory but I’ve also had them sprinkled with powdered sugar for a sweeter finish too. #HEIRLOOMED


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heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of "keeping heirlooms around for another generation." Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy" with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com

Southern Kitchen Bucket List : Fried Okra.

When I think about truly farm-fresh cooking okra always comes to my mind. It's kind of that quintessential vegetable that just feels rustic and earthy.

It might surprise you to know that I didn't grow up eating okra at home. It was never something my Mom cooked, perhaps she didn't like the texture. Quite frankly, I don't really love it all that much myself. OK, there, I said it.

southern fried okra / lodge cast iron / heirloomed
vintage colander washing fresh okra / heirloomed
farm fresh okra / fried okra / southern kitchen bucket list / heirloomed

But, there's something about a cornmeal crust that gets me every time. A neatly fried, slightly sour from the buttermilk, salted-to-perfection little coating around the okra almost completely forgives its slimy interior texture. 

The more I give it a try, when done right, the better it seems to get. So I'm giving it a try here, as part of my Southern Kitchen Bucket List, trying to practice and perfect it as best I can.

lodge cast iron pan for fried okra / heirloomed
vintage colander with fresh okra / southern kitchen bucket list / heirloomed
cutting okra / fried okra / heirloomed
chopped okra / heirloomed
light filtering through vintage colander / heirloomed

You see, I think it really is a beautiful vegetable. The long pods of okra with the soft matte exterior, cut into chunky bites that are almost flower-like in shape. The tiny little white seeds scattered around amidst the silky, sticky liquid inside. It's hard to not try to keep it just as perfect as it began.

Every time we visit the farmers market it just calls my name and I have been trying to experiment with trying it a few different ways to shake things up. Pickled with a Bloody Mary is at the top of the list, in case you were interested.

dixie lily corn meal / southern fried okra / heirloomed
soaking okra in buttermilk / heirloomed
dripping buttermilk / southern fried okra / heirloomed
dredging okra / heirloomed
southern fried okra / heirloomed
vintage spatula / cast iron skillet / southern fried okra / heirloomed

But this time my Fried Okra was the best yet. Crispy and crunchy and bite-sized. Just the perfect ratio of cornmeal so the texture was dead on. I hope you'll give it a go!

Southern Fried Okra

Yield: 6
Author:
This salty and crunchy okra is everything you could dream of and more. Its crispy, fried breading and soft inside is hard to say no to.

ingredients:

  • 1 lb of okra
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup White Lily Flour
  • 1 cup Dixie Lily Corn Meal
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Canola or vegetable oil

instructions:

How to cook Southern Fried Okra

  1. Gather + rinse okra in cold water. Chop into bite-sized pieces and soak in bowl of buttermilk. 
  2. While your okra is soaking, combine flour, cornmeal, cayenne powder in a separate bowl and toss dry ingredients until well mixed.
  3. In a cast iron skillet, heat approximately 1.5" of oil. Take buttermilk-soaked okra and toss in flour mixture until all sides are well coated. Carefully place in hot oil and allow to brown on one side before turning to brown the other. 
  4. Remove with slotted spoon or spatula and place on paper lined cookie sheet to soak up remaining grease. 
  5. Immediately sprinkle generously with kosher salt while still hot. Enjoy!
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pan of southern fried okra / heirloomed
fried okra in falcon enamelware bowl / heirloomed

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Southern Fried Okra recipe / heirloomed

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heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of "keeping heirlooms around for another generation." Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy" with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com