|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
The 1991 movie "Fried Green Tomatoes" inadvertently conferred credit for this garden treat on the South, but old cookbooks prove the presence of fried green tomatoes on dinner tables in Northern climes—where shorter growing seasons often left gardeners with a crop of green tomatoes—long before the dish made its cinematic debut.
Ironically, it's hard to find green tomatoes in grocery stores outside of the South but check your local farmers market, especially in the fall. Just don't confuse unripe green tomatoes with green heirloom varieties, which ripen without turning red. You want the firm texture and tangy acidity of an unripe tomato; the heat of the oven coaxes out the juice and underlying sugars for a perfect sweet-tart balance.
Classic recipes call for pan frying in plenty of oil, but this lighter and healthier version makes a versatile appetizer, the basis for a light lunch, or an outside-the-box dinner side dish.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 F.
Sprinkle both sides of the tomato slices with salt and pepper. Mix the beaten eggs, milk, and water in a shallow bowl. Sift the all-purpose flour into another shallow bowl or pie plate.
Dip each tomato slice first in the egg mixture, then dredge it in the flour. Dip each slice into the egg a second time and then dredge it in the flour again.
Arrange the tomato slices on large, well-greased or parchment-covered rimmed baking sheets. The tomato slices should not touch each other.
Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, flipping the slices halfway through the cooking time.
For a crunchier coating, use seasoned bread crumbs, cornmeal, or crushed corn flakes on the second dip, mixed with a little Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Oven-fried green tomato slices pair deliciously with pimento cheese spread, make an unexpected base for an eggs Benedict, or deliver juicy flavor stuffed in a po' boy bun. Layer oven-fried green tomatoes with slices of fresh mozzarella and torn basil leaves dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and seasoned with sea salt for a creative take on a Caprese salad. Try them as the T in a BLT, on top of a burger, or sandwiched in a grilled cheese. Or keep things simple (and classic) with a cool side of buttermilk dressing for dipping piping hot slices just out of the oven.
Harvest any remaining green tomatoes from your backyard garden before the first cold snap or pick up a bundle at the farmer's market in late fall. You can find many delicious recipes using green tomatoes, including for pickles or hot dog relish, green ketchup, and a tart green tomato-based soup.