M: Fried green tomatoes are great all summer long, but just the ticket for using those end of the year tomatoes that aren’t going to ripen before that first frost hits or for those who can’t help but jump the gun on those early yield crops. Fried green tomatoes have been around since at least the late 1800′s, but its origins are disputed, including credible arguments that they were first served up in the (*gasp*) Midwest or Northeast. Although already identified with Southern cuisine, its fate was sealed with the 1987 publication of Fannie Flagg’s Southern drenched novel “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” (come on now, did you really think we’d make it though this without mentioning it?). This fusion of classic New Orleans shrimp remoulade with fried green tomatoes came along a few years later (generally credited as a creation of the Upperline Restaurant in New Orleans), coinciding, yes, with the release of the film adaptation of Flagg’s book.
Which brings me to reason #154 I love living in N.C. Living less than two hours away from the ocean means fresh seafood. Of course you can get shrimp in Ohio, but it just doesn’t compare. Heck, I even have a preferred fishmonger. Sadly, their building was destroyed by a tornado that plowed through here back in April, so I had to buy somewhere else this time. The good news is, they are rebuilding and expect to be back in business sometime this fall. Get well soon, Earp’s Seafood.
Anyway, back to the meal at hand. What a combination! This dish is so well realized you wonder how it took a hundred years to stumble upon it. This recipe has more moving parts than most of what we’ve prepared here so far. That isn’t to say it’s difficult (it’s not), only that it is really three recipes rolled into one. Totally worth your while. So pretty on the plate and, man, it is tasty.
K: I’m not sure I can add much to this, except to say that if you’ve never had your fried green tomatoes this way, and I hadn’t until I was an adult, you REALLY must try it. Oh sure, I know….you’re thinking that your family recipe is the best, most glorious, and ONLY truly great way to do FGT’s. I hear you…..or, maybe you’re one of those folks who think they don’t LIKE fried green tomatoes? Either way, I’m willing to lay odds that this version will change your mind. Please just don’t tell my Great Aunt Emma, OK?
Recipe: Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp Remoulade
Summary: Crispy, corn meal breaded tomatoes topped with meaty shrimp and the inimitable Creole bite of remoulade. From The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook.
• 4 qt Water
• 2 T seafood seasoning blend* (K: I used Zatarain’s, bien sur)
• Dash Hot Sauce
• Juice of 1 Lemon
• Salt and Pepper
• 2 Lb Large Shrimp in shells
• 1/2 c Creole Mustard
• 1/3 c Ketchup
• 1 T Prepared Horseradish
• 2 tsp Lemon Juice
• 1 1/2 tsp Paprika
• 1/2 tsp White Pepper
• 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
• 1/3 c Olive Oil
• 1/3 c Celery, chopped
• 1 T Green Onion, chopped
• 4 Large Green Tomatoes
• 1 1/2 c Buttermilk
• 2 c Corn Flour or Fine Cornmeal
• 2 T Kosher Salt
• 2 tsp Black Pepper
• Vegetable Oil, for frying
• 6 Handfuls Salad Greens
1. Bring all shrimp ingredients (except shrimp) to boil in a large pot (M: see note on seasoning mix below).
2. Once boiling, add shrimp and cook about 2 minutes, until opaque.
3. Drain shrimp and rinse immediately in cold water.
4. Peel and devein then refrigerate at least 30 minutes. ( K: I will freely admit that I didn’t do this. I like the shrimp warm in this dish, so feel free to mix this up if you like. I bring the water to a boil, then keep it on low until the first batch of tomatoes is in the oil. I can quickly bring it back to a boil, and cook and devein the shrimp in between tomato batches and everything comes out warm at the same time.)
1. Combine mustard, ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, paprika, white pepper and cayenne.
2. Blend using a hand blender and (while blending) slowly add olive oil in a slow stream.
3. Stir in celery and green onions.
4. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
1. Bring oil to 325 degrees in a heavy skillet.
2. Cut tomatoes into 1/2″ thick slices (discarding ends).
3. Place tomatoes in a bowl with buttermilk and let rest 5 minutes (make sure to coat completely).
4. Mix corn flour, salt and pepper in a wide shallow bowl.
5. Working a few at a time, remove tomatoes from buttermilk and dredge in corn flour mix to coat.
6. Fry in oil about 2 minutes a side, turning only once.
7. Drain over paper towels.
Place salad greens on six plates. Rest tomatoes on greens, top with shrimp and cover with remoulade. Serve immediately.
* M: Instead of using a commercial blend, I combined the following to season the shrimp boil:
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Celery Salt
1/2 tsp Dry Mustard
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Cloves
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper