For many of you across the northern hemisphere — those who are currently wrapping yourselves in full arctic expedition gear just to get to work — this will not be a timely post. Here in dull-weather California, however, I still have a good ten pounds left of unripe green tomatoes in my fridge, thanks to my weirdly extended harvest of Sungolds and Early Cascades.
The other day I was frying up some of these green tomatoes traditional-style, first slicing them, then dredging and coating each individual slice in egg and corn meal. DELICIOUS, but the process is a hassle — especially with smaller tomato varieties, which are harder to slice, coat, and handle. But I stuck with it, and at the end, as is my habit, I dumped some corn meal and salt into the remaining bit of egg to make a single guilty pleasure cornball. Then I thought: why not just mix some diced green tomato in there too, and make a patty? It worked beautifully! Not only was it an easier technique than the traditional slice-dredge-coat, but also a much more efficient way to make use of all those baby green cherries.
This simple recipe below is my unembellished first attempt at green tomato fritters. I alternated between eating them plain, right out of the skillet (with an extra pinch of salt and pepper, to suit my extreme love of both), and dipping them in lemon aioli. Next time I’ll try fancifying the mixture, maybe with grated cheese, hot peppers, onion, or fresh corn. I’m also dreaming about serving them with cilantro dipping sauce, chipotle aioli, roasted pepper salsa — or in a Bacon, Lettuce & Fried Tomato sandwich.
Now, I’d love to hear YOUR ideas!
Makes about 10 fritters.
- 1½ cups corn meal
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup finely diced green tomatoes (1/4″ or smaller)
- 2 – 4 tablespoons vegetable oil (depending on width of skillet)
- In a medium bowl, mix the corn meal, eggs, salt, and pepper together thoroughly. Add the green tomatoes and mix until they’re distributed evenly throughout. Form the mixture into small patties, around 2″ in diameter and ½” thick.
- Coat a large skillet with 1/16″ – ⅛” of oil and heat over medium-high heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, place patties into skillet and cook until undersides turn golden brown and patties begin to hold together (2 to 3 minutes). Flip and repeat the process for the other sides.