As I am a Jersey girl who grew up eating Jersey tomatoes, I never heard of a fried GREEN tomato until the book and movie of the same name came out over 25 years ago! And, loyal to my roots, I have never tasted one. It doesn’t seem right. Green tomatoes. Of course now tomatoes come in red and purple and black and green and orange and striped. And I eat them all. Just not unripe green ones. It doesn’t seem right.
My grandmother and my mother made fried tomatoes. Red ones. When tomatoes were plentiful we would have fried tomatoes often as a side dish. They are the perfect complement to something off the grill.
This recipe is as good as your tomatoes. You want very ripe ones. And it’s all about technique. But know that even if it all turns to mush…the dish is still delicious.
(What you see pictured above is a tomato knife. I know. I thought it was a gimmick too. But it works and works well. The blade is serrated to get through the skin without smashing the tomato. The open spaces keep the slices separated. The prongs pick the tomato slices up).
ripe, RED tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
butter (or olive oil or vegetable oil)
heavy cream (optional…but oh, so delicious.)
1. Wash and thickly slice red tomatoes.
2. Dry the sliced tomatoes on a paper towel.
3. Mix flour, salt, and pepper on a plate.
4. Lay the tomatoes in the flour mixture. Coat both sides.
5. Heat your pan to medium heat…no more than medium high.
6. Melt butter in a large skillet…enough to cover the bottom of the pan. (My grandmother always used butter. Olive oil and vegetable oil are fine here too. I think it depends on your taste and your grandmother).
7. When the butter has melted completely and has started to bubble, put the tomatoes in the pan. (If using oil, do get it hot enough to sizzle when you place the tomatoes).
8. Let the tomatoes fry in the butter for about five minutes before turning them. Fry both sides.
9. A minute or two before you are going to serve the tomatoes, pour in about 4 ounces of heavy cream. Take the pan off the heat and let the cream bubble up and cook down. Only a minute or two.
Simple. Delicious. Can be used as a side dish or a “sauce”.
It isn’t summer until some ripe, red tomatoes get fried like my grandmother and mother used to do. Truly comforting food.
Tomatoes can be found EVERYWHERE at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market – Our Yards Farm (cherry tomatoes), Springdale Farm, Flaim Farm, Hymer Farm, DanLynn Organic, Viereck Farm, Formisano Farm, Savoie Organic, Fruitwood Farm.
My grandmother, my mother (in the bonnet), and big sister.