I was way too impatient to wait...and they looked so fresh and alluring in their green, unripened state. So today, we "pruned" some of the 14 tomato plants in my garden, and took a handful inside. We dredged them in flour, salt and pepper, then instead of frying, broiled them on a preheated oiled pan. They were crispy on the outside, tender inside, and not greasy. Another big advantage was they were done at the same time (hard to do if you're frying in batches on the stovetop).Of course, you can do it the old-fashioned way: fried in a cast iron skillet, which is heavenly too. We served them with a simple herbed "aioli," made with homemade mayonnaise, minced garden herbs and a little fresh garlic. It took me right back to my grandmothers' kitchen tables in North Carolina, and almost made me forget about eating them ripe. Find hundreds of recipes like these in The Healthy Gourmet: Inspired Eats!
Not-quite Fried Green Tomatoes
3 medium or 4 small green (unripe) tomatoes
1/2 to 1 cup finely ground whole-wheat or gluten-free breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 large egg
Olive, avocado or tea oil
2 tablespoons minced chives
1. Preheat oven broiler. Place a large baking sheet in the oven.
2. While pan is preheating, core tomatoes and cut 1/4-inch thick. Combine bread crumbs, black pepper, salt and cayenne pepper in a shallow bowl. Crack egg into another shallow bowl, and beat till mixed. When pan has finished preheating, remove from oven and pour a little oil into the middle of the pan, tilting it to coat the surface. Working quickly so the pan doesn't cool, dip tomato slices in the egg, then dredge in bread crumbs, pressing tomatoes gently into mixture. Arrange slices on hot baking pan.
3. Broil tomatoes for 5 to 7 minutes, 6 to 8 inches from the heat, until tomatoes are golden and tender.
4. To serve, transfer cooked tomatoes to a serving platter. Sprinkle with chives, and serve immediately, with herb mayonnaise on the side, if desired.