Chilly Bay Area summers make waiting for that first green tomato to ripen like waiting for Congress to negotiate a budget.
Thankfully green tomatoes have a lot more going for them than our typical legislators. They’re way more fun; they have a movie AND a book named after them; they’re tasty; and, instead of making you want to cry, they give you a great excuse to fry. If that’s not enough, you can eat them with the godfather of all milky goodness, burrata!
So get on it. Go out there and pick those suckers and make some fried green tomatoes. I served these as part of a special birthday meal that included tuna, olive, and avocado canapés, (pictured below), seared sea scallops with spicy brown butter over grits, and sautéed green beans with shallots and toasted walnuts, and for dessert: panna cotta with Ellen’s canned, honeyed cherries.
I accidentally bought cream instead of buttermilk so we decided to make butter (and buttermilk) a la minute in a jar, just like in elementary school.
This fancy stone ground cornmeal from a small mill in the south definitely made for a superior crunchy texture and super corny flavor, but regular cornmeal is just fine.
Fried Green Tomatoes with Burrata and Basil
1 large, firm, green tomato, sliced
1/2 cup of buttermilk
3/4 cup cornmeal
Freshly ground pepper
High heat vegetable oil or peanut oil for frying
Fresh basil, sliced into a chiffonade
Your best olive oil for drizzling
Put the buttermilk and cornmeal in separate shallow bowls. Season the cornmeal generously with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy, cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil so it comes about 1/2 inch up the sides of the skillet.
While waiting for pan and oil to heat, dunk the tomato slices first in the buttermilk and then in the seasoned cornmeal. Test the pan for heat by dropping in a sprinkle of cornmeal. It should sizzle in a lively fashion, but not burn. The surface of the oil should look shimmery but shouldn’t smoke. When the pan is ready, put in the tomato slices two or three at a time, depending on their size and the size of your pan. You don’t want to crowd them or they won’t fry properly.
Fry the tomato slices until golden brown, then flip carefully and fry the other side. Meanwhile, ready your plates. Slice the burrata, Lay out a little arugula (if using) and drizzle it with good olive oil. Top this with the tomatoes, topping each tomato with a slice of burrata and a sprinkle of basil. Season the burrata with salt and freshly ground pepper and drizzle the top with good olive oil. Serve immediately.