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Friday, October 28, 2011

Battle of the Fried Green Tomato

I think by now it's no secret that I love the stuff. I was first introduced to the dish when I watched the movie with the same name during my teens. It is one of my faves to watch on a lazy Saturday afternoon. I wished a lot more in inner circle enjoyed this movie because many times I find myself quoting it and no one "gets it."

About two years ago is when I first attempted to make my own fried green tomatoes. (FGT) I spotted them at the farmers market in Phoenix and picked up two green ones for about $2.

My first attempt was okay and ever since, I've been trying to perfect the receipe at home and enjoy noshing on them when I see it listed on a restaurants' menu.

1st attempt
My first attempt using polenta. On this one, I used too much batter. It came out more crunchy than I liked. 2/5

Every time I go to Eggspectations restaurant in Silver Spring, MD, I always order the same thing. A plate of FGT and side of potatoes & smothered onions.

Still not happy with this attempt because the breading didn't cover the whole tomato.
Next attempt was much better than the first. I liked the breadding (italian bread crumbs) and most of it stayed on the tomato. I also put shredded parmesan in the batter.

Two months ago when I went to Savannah, Paula Deen's "Lady & Sons" restaurant was first on our list of places to eat. They offered a plate of FGT with some kind of red sauce on top and an additional white dipping sauce. This was not good! The breading was way too crunchy and took away from the tomato flavor and that red sauce was yucky.

My basket came with 4 thick beefsteak tomatoes. I wanted more!
We visited the Whistle Stop Cafe which to me is straight out of the movie. We dined in a retro train car. FGT here was absolute perfection. Thick, simple, and delicious. The breading did not crumble and it came complimented with a raspberry sauce of some kind which was absolutely delicious but not at all necessary.

This taste as bad as the picture looks. 
I tested a FGT at another Savannah eatery called "Sweet Potato Kitchen". A dining establishment recommended by my vacation home rental host. (Long story short: Yuck) The waitress tried to warn me that the Cafe does not make good tomaotes but I needed to find out for myself. She was right. It was greasy, and badly seasoned. I didn't even finish it and my dining companion turned her nose at the sight of it.

Earlier this month I got to check out Neely's BBQ Parlor in NYC for a friend's birthday dinner celebration. I had high expectations for this FGT. Come on, it's the Neely's!! It was oookay. The breading was awesome! That was the first thing I checked for. It was a bit on the greasy side and way too much of that onion ranchy sauce they had on top. (I ate it anyway) The tomaotes were sliced on the thin side, which I didn't like.

** Bonus**

Blurry Blackberry photo of this sneaky sangria
 Neely's went above and beyond for a sangria lover like me and created a green tomato sangria. (Yes, you read that right.) I turned my nose but the waitress gushed and promised it was really good. I had to try it.
It IS good. Light & fruity. The tomaoto flavor does not come out strong at all, which should have been the star. I want to say the drink isn't potent (because it didn't taste that way) but after a 2nd glass, I had a really good buzz. This sucker sneaks up on you. I want to duplicate this at home and make the tomato shine. I'm still brainstorming on this one since the Neely's wouldn't share their recipe. (I already asked via Twitter.)

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner: Whistle Stop Cafe

Shout out to my good friend, Jermey who shared with me this video of Top Chef winner, Carla Hall and her FGT receipe. I'm going to try it this way next!



jeremy said...

let us know how carla's recipe turns out! :)

( or better yet, cook it for me :D )

Justice Fergie said...

invite me over and i'll join Jeremy on the taste panel! here's a tip: try the FGT at B.Smith's in Union Station!! I had them at her NYC restaurant and they were AMAZING.

Anonymous said...

Very Good Post of FGT ! ! !