Fried Green Tomatoes with Remoulade Sauce

updated Sep 10, 2023
summer
Fried Green Tomatoes

The best (and tastiest!) way to make classic Southern fried green tomatoes.

Serves4 to 6

Prep40 minutes

Cook15 minutes to 25 minutes

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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

Ruby-red tomatoes may be the crown jewel of summer, but I say that fried green tomatoes are the season’s unsung hero. Turn stubbornly unripe green tomatoes into a crunchy Southern specialty.

You can make the ultimate fried green tomatoes by dipping in tangy buttermilk, coating in cornmeal, and then frying until golden. Once you taste them warm with a spicy remoulade sauce, you may never wait for tomatoes to ripen again.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

The Secret to Crunchy Fried Green Tomatoes

Wondra, the brand name for instant flour developed in the 1960s. This instant flour is pre-cooked, dried, and finely ground, resulting in flour that easily dissolves — lump-free! — in both hot and cold liquids. The low protein content and fine, even texture gives fried foods a crisp crunch while absorbing less of the frying oil. Here, that also means a coating that won’t slip off the tomatoes.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

What Tomatoes Are Best for Fried Green Tomatoes?

Fried green tomatoes are made with unripe green tomatoes. These tomatoes haven’t yet turned red so they have a firm texture and slightly citrusy flavor. These green tomatoes are different from husk-wrapped tomatillos or heirloom tomatoes, like Green Zebras, that remain green even when ripe.

How to Make Simple Fried Green Tomatoes

Make this classic Southern side in three simple steps: slice, coat, fry.

  1. Slice green tomatoes 1/4-inch thick. Use a serrated knife to slice 3 large green tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
  2. Coat the tomato slices in breading. I use 3 metal pie pans because they’re shallow, wide, inexpensive, and easy to clean, but any wide, shallow dish will do. The key to breading the tomatoes (and not your fingers) is to designate one hand for dry ingredients and the other for wet. You can also use tongs or two forks to handle the tomatoes. If you substitute all-purpose flour for Wondra, let the breaded tomatoes rest for an extra 5 minutes before frying.
  3. Fry the tomatoes. Test the oil temperature and timing by frying the scraps (the very top and bottom slices of the tomatoes) until golden brown and crisp. Once the oil is hot, continue frying, starting with the slices that were breaded first.
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

What’s the Difference Between Remoulade and Comeback Sauce?

No serving of fried green tomatoes is complete without a dipping sauce. Serve the sauce on the side or spoon sauce onto the bottom of the serving platter and stack the cornmeal-crusted green tomatoes on top.

  • Remoulade sauce: A pale pink sauce consisting of mayonnaise, mustard, lemon, hot sauce, and seasonings that’s popular in French and Creole cuisines.
  • Comeback sauce: Mississippi-born mayonnaise-based sauce with a milder, sweeter flavor from ketchup and chili sauce. It’s name is a not-so-subtle nod to the culture of Southern hospitality.

Fried Green Tomatoes

The best (and tastiest!) way to make classic Southern fried green tomatoes.

Prep time 40 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes to 25 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the remoulade sauce:

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 1

    medium scallion (optional)

  • 2 sprigs

    fresh parsley

  • 1/2 cup

    mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s

  • 1 tablespoon

    whole-grain or Creole mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    hot sauce, such as Louisiana or Tabasco

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 pinch

    cayenne pepper

For the tomatoes:

  • 3

    unripe green tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds total)

  • 2/3 cup

    instant flour, such as Wondra, divided

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    paprika

  • 3/4 cup

    buttermilk

  • 1

    large egg white

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    hot sauce, such as Louisiana or Tabasco

  • 3/4 cup

    finely ground cornmeal

  • 1/2 cup

    canola oil

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Knife and cutting board

  • Serrated knife

  • Whisk

  • Mixing bowls or shallow dishes

  • Plastic wrap

  • Wire cooling rack

  • 10-inch cast iron skillet

  • Tongs or thin metal spatula

  • Paper towel

  • Plate

  • Rimmed baking sheet

Instructions

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Make the remoulade sauce:

  1. Prepare the lemon, scallion, and parsley. Prepare the following, adding each to the same small bowl as you complete it: Juice 1 medium lemon until you have 2 tablespoons. Finely chop 1 medium scallion if desired. Pick the leaves from 2 fresh parsley sprigs and finely chop until you have 1 tablespoons.

  2. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Add 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon whole-grain or Creole mustard, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 pinch cayenne pepper. Whisk until combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the tomatoes:

  1. Chop the tomatoes. Using a serrated knife, cut 3 unripe green tomatoes crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices.

  2. Season the flour. Place 1/3 cup of the instant flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 3/4 teaspoon paprika in a wide, shallow bowl or pie plate. Stir or whisk to combine.

  3. Make the wet mixture. Place 3/4 cup buttermilk, 1 large egg white, and 1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce in a second wide, shallow bowl. Whisk to combine.

  4. Prepare the cornmeal. Place the remaining 1/3 cup instant flour and 3/4 cup finely ground cornmeal in a third wide, shallow bowl. Stir or whisk to combine.

  5. Bread the tomato slices. Fit a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. Dip each tomato slice in in the following order, making sure it is completly coated before dipping in the next mixture: flour mixture, buttermilk mixture, and cornmeal mixture.

  6. Set the cornmeal coating. Place the breaded tomato slices on the rack in a single layer. Let sit so the coating sets while the oil heats.

  7. Heat the oil. Heat 1/2 cup canola oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering, about 5 minutes. The oil should sizzle immediately if you sprinkle flour into it.

  8. Fry the tomatoes. Fry in batches of 4 to 5 tomatoes slices: Carefully add to the hot oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden-brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transer the fried tomatoes to a paper towel-lined plate.

  9. Serve warm the remoulade sauce. Serve the tomatoes immediately with the remoulade sauce.

Recipe Notes

All-purpose flour variation: Substitute an equal amount of all-purpose flour for the instant flour. Rest the breaded tomatoes for an additional 5 minutes before frying.

Make ahead: The remoulade sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. Fried tomatoes are best eaten immediately after frying.

Storage: Refrigerate leftover remoulade sauce in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

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