Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fried Green Tomato Breakfast Sandwiches

I am a culinary genius.

OK. Probably not, but this was freakin' delicious. So, I was in the gym, and as often happens, Paula Deen was on (as it turns out, her show is great motivation to work hard in the gym). She and her son Bobby were making Fried Green Tomato Burgers. I love fried green tomatoes. They're tremendous. These burgers looked great. But I thought to myself, "You know Fried Green Tomatoes don't have enough of? Bacon."

Well, myself - Challenge Accepted.

(I defy you to come up with a food that bacon does not improve - can't be done. Shrimp. Beef. Chocalate. Brussel Sprouts. Tomato bisque.)

So, as it turned the Deens rectified the situation with bacon shortly. But I was already hung up on my own ideas. Much like esteemed Libertarian idealogue Ron Swanson, I love breakfast food. I think it's appropriate for any meal. Breakfast however, is not where I shine in the kitchen. Out of necessity, I can grill up up a mean piece of bacon. On a good day, I can turn a decent omelet, make some solid french bread french toast (thanks, Bill!) and make passable, if visually unimpressive scrambled eggs. And that's about as far as it goes - everything else comes out of a bisquick box or hungry jack can. However, I was undeterred, and fried green tomatoes and eggs and bacon sounded like a good idea. I probably should have been more concerned that everything I knew about making fried green tomatoes came from the episode of TV that I was only half paying attention while in the middle of whatever the treadmill thought interval training was. (Sorry, I never read the Fanny Flag book or saw the movie. I prefer to retain my Man Card.)

Here's what I used:

Eggs (1 per sandwich)
Uncured Bacon (2 slices per sandwich)
Green Tomatoes (1 slice before Sandwich)
English Muffins
Irish Butter
Seasonings you enjoy

To get things going, I started grilling the up the bacon. This is important to do first - I'll get to it in a bit, but you can probably guess where I'm going with this.

Then I got my tomatoes ready. For those you who have never been south of the Mason-Dixon line, that's a green tomato on the right. It looks pretty much like a regular tomato, just firmer, less ripe, and green. That's because it is a regular tomato, just not ripe yet, and therefore firmer and green. No, I don't know whose bright idea it was to start cooking with unripe fruit.

Anyway, slice the ends off your tomato, and cut into even 1/2-inch slices (I got 4 out mine). At this point, salt lightly on both sides, and leave to drain on a paper towel. I don't really understand the significance of this step, but Paula did it, and it seemed to work out OK. This is a good time to get everything else. Pour some buttermilk in a bowl, and get some flour ready - I mixed in a bit of salt and pepper. And my grinder exploded, resulting in some whole peppercorns getting mixed in, too. This turned out to be a tasty accident. Also, you can fork blend some eggs - I kicked mine up with homemade chili powder and ground Parmesan.

At this point, your bacon should probably be about ready. Hooray for Bacon. Remember how I told you make your bacon first? This is why: Frying things in pork fat is always better! (Hey, at least it's not cured pork fat) Transfer the rendered fat to a skillet warming just a hair under medium - you don't want the tomatoes, which are very firm, to fry too quickly.  At this point, soak your tomato slices in buttermilk, and dredge until coated in flour. Fry on both sides for several minutes each - you should get a nice crispy golden brown coating. You're just going to have to trust me that they looked better and more evenly coated in real life than they do to your right and below.

Then, just scramble up some eggs, and put everything together on freshly toasted and buttered english muffins (I considered biscuits as well).


  1. This looks good! I'd go for the further artery clogging biscuit version, and a nap afterwards. Glad to have you back and look forward to your future posts.

  2. The biscuits were tempting - but between the eggs, bacon and tomatoes, my prep and cooking surfaces were busy enough. Something I could pop into the toaster was a nice solution.

    Interestingly, I used the two left over fried tomatoes and bacon to make a pretty awesome tuna sandwich later on.