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Photo by donna
Such is the state of my tomatoes due to this cool summer.  I don't know if they'll be ready by end of August.  Yes, I could do a fried green tomato BLT and maybe I will, but I also want to do a regular BLT with a big ripe fatty warm from the vine.

I have already received fine entries.  But, a number of people who are accepting the BLT Challenge have asked me to extend the deadline due to behind-schedule fruit.  This challenge is not a race.  Indeed, this challenge is about making the best food possible.  And sometimes making the best food possible involves waiting. Therefore, the challenge is hereby extended to September 15. (See above link for details.)

Should you get antsy though for tomatoes in any form, I highly recommend frying them.

How to prepare fried green tomatoes:
There are all kinds of ways you can fry green tomatoes but I believe the best way is using "standard breading procedure" (as we called it in culinary school), aka flour-eggwash-breadcrumbs.

Cut tomatoes into half-inch slices.  Beat a couple of eggs until they're uniformly mixed.  Set up a pan with flour, a bowl with the eggs, and a pan of Panko bread crumbs.  Dip the tomato into flour.  This gives them a dry surface that the eggwash will adhere to.  Dip them into the eggwash, then into the bread crumbs. Panko is the best bread crumb for frying, results in the best dry crunch.

Pan fry or deep fry until golden brown.  Serve with some mayonnaise you've whipped up yourself and made very spicy with cayenne or smoked paprika.  Add bacon, lettuce and bread if you wish!

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41 Wonderful responses to “Green Tomatoes!
BLT Challenge Update”

  • milo

    Just what I predicted back in June. I’m finally starting to see some red now but it’s taking so long I have to wonder if they will hang in there until they are red enough – may just end up being a bad year for tomatoes. Although I did plant green zebras again this year and they have been tasty.

    Thanks for the extension, now the question is if there will be lettuce by the time the tomatoes are red.

  • Christine

    My boyfriend introduced me to a new technique. After the tomatoes are dredged, freeze ‘em for about an hour and they fry perfectly.

  • luis

    Carri, fried green tomatoes are breaded. And they are truly green and delicious…. Any time I have made them…. I can not stop eating them…! Other folks I share them with are nuts about them.

  • Ms. Glaze

    I love cornmeal breaded fried green tomatoes, but Panko is practically fool proof and always looks pretty and flakey. Cornmeal breading often looks like little hockey pucks afterwards. Thanks for the inspiration Michael! I’m gonna experiment with green zebras since green tomatoes are kinda out of my 10 mile radius ;-)

  • Kate in the NW

    Toast your cornmeal first. milk (or buttermilk)the tomato slices and let them sit for a little bit. Cook ‘em, then let them sit for a little while before you eat them. They should be warm, not HOT. Or use slightly finer-grind cornmeal – that helps too.

    I just cannot eat a green tomato or okra without CORNMEAL!!!! (unless they’re pickled, of course…)

  • Alan Kiste

    Panko is good, but crushed Ritz crackers are better. They add flavor as well as great texture and hold up to sauces better than panko.

  • Chad Stoltenberg

    We’re getting just a bit of color on the tomatoes here in MN. We will appreciate the deadline extension for more tomato options – thanks.

  • carri

    This fried green tomatoes thing was going to be my saving grace if the deadline held…though just today I see color appearing! To really do it right I’m starting my own starter at home using broccoli leaves from my garden, game on!

  • luis

    Bro I am out!. Basically I just can not get it together right now. Big surprise. But the amazing thing about a nice Whopper like B.L.T. is…. that you can not screw it up!.
    It’s impossible. This thing hits the three points on the compass and then comes around and hits them again!!!!!.
    do it in pork, black angus, Kobee,… do it in any thing… the concept is genius and might just withstand the test o’time. you could walk in to Joe’s Stone crab in Miami beach and grab a crab and throw into a b.l.t. thing and make the front page of any trendy thing like Decco Drive. B.L.T. Rules bro.
    although I am buying cabbage on a reg basis….

  • Chuck McLean

    Michael-

    I feel your pain – but I don’t share it! In Southeast Virginia, the combination of just enough rain and relatively mild temperatures have produced the best tomato season in recent history! I only put in two plants, but they started producing in late June, and have been giving us one or two beautiful tomatoes every day since then. An unbeatable combination of tart, sweet, and juicy. I have to be restrained from eating BLTs twice a day.

    On a completely different subject, I had hip replacement surgery in late June, and promised myself the treat of ordering up to $150 worth of cookbooks as soon as I could walk three miles in 45 minutes. That happened last Thursday, and today Amazon delivered “The French Laundry Cookbook”, “Bouchon”, “Alinea”, and “Ratio”. I am in hog heaven!

  • Fran

    It was 1975 or 1976 and there was no summer in the NE, no blight, but no sun either. None of my tomatoes ripened. What to do? For Christmas, everyone got a quart of green tomato relish in a Bicentennial Ball jar.

  • Wilson

    I am sorry to hear the trouble everyone is having w/ there tomato’s ripening. I live in Lorain Ohio and I have picked at least 60 lb’s of ripe tomatos. So far I have made smoked tomato sauce, oven dried tomatos, oven roasted, and canned 6 qt of sauce.

  • Christian

    Last weekend here in Philly, we picked a large green tomato that was slightly damaged. After removing the damage and slicing it thickly, we brined it slightly for a few hours in a vinegar/salt/water/garlic/dill brine before coating them in a cornmeal batter and frying them in DUCK FAT.

    Dear lord, they were some of the best fried green tomatoes I’ve ever had. The slight bringing really enhances the natural tartness, and hey, is there anything that doesn’t taste great friend in duck fat?

  • ruhlman

    certainly understand the reason for the cornmeal and this is the traditional southern method, but I prefer crisp crunchy panko to the gritty crunch of fried cornmeal.

  • Dave L.

    Just had some awesome fried green tomatoes at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. If you’re ever there, give ‘em a try.

  • eatlivetravelwrite

    THANK YOU for posting this..

    We already set our “BLT reveal” date for Aug 21st and I am just back from Australia and South East Asia to find tomato TREES (lots of rain this summer in Toronto) with green fruit (lack of sun). Was just joking with our neighbours about having fried green tomatoes and voilà, here is your recipe!!!

    My husband has done a FINE job of bacon and pancetta in my absence though:

    http://www.eatlivetravelwrite.com/search/label/blt%20challenge

    (although there’s quite a bit of mold on them after a brief jetlagged inspection last night…. Time will tell)

  • *susan*

    Boston. 4-days till we have ripe tomatoes. So exciting as they have turned orange in the past day. Of course, it is so hot the humans are melting. Small price to pay for home-grown tomatoes.

  • suzanne

    most definitely some cornmeal
    in with both the flour
    and the panko crumbs
    for the fried green tomatoes
    I eat whole meals of nothing but
    fried green tomatoes

  • Kate in the NW

    Seattle, REPRESENT!!! :-)
    I am so proud of all the foodies in my city!

    my parents are southern, and I’m pretty sure God will strike you down dead if you use Panko and not cornmeal mixed with some flour, salt, pepper, hot paprika, and touch of granulated garlic. Cayenne if you’re so-inclined.

    And please, for the love of all that’s good and holy, cook them in bacon fat, or at least butter (with bacon fat mixed in).

    It’s a wonder, really, that I’m not 400lbs., considering my culinary upbringing.

  • Jan

    Sorry I will not be an active participant in the Challenge, but I can’t wait to see all the results. As a consolation (to myself) maybe I’ll see what I can come up with from the little farmer’s market when I am back in a part of the U.S. where they actually grow stuff. Thanks for putting the challenge out there!!

  • Hema

    As a first time homeowner (in Solon) with my first real garden this summer, I’m relieved to see I’m not the only one having a problem with mostly green tomatoes so far this season!
    Michael – any thoughts on how the tomatoes have been looking in the farmers’ market so far this year? I bought some last week but was sorely disappointed so now I’m hesitant to spend money on tomatoes, especially if mine will be ripening soon. Do you have any favorite vendors who have particularly good tomatoes this year?

  • Paul Kobulnicky

    A couple’a things. Here in NE Ohio, the best time for convergence is late September … still great tomatoes and early fall lettuce is ready.

    As for fried green tomatoes … absolutely fried in lard but bacon fat will do in a pinch as long as the bacon was not too sweet thereby leaving a sugar residue to burn (which is why lard is preferable). These are a happy part of my childhood (eaten with Wonder bread and ketchup … hey I was a kid then).

  • Russell E

    Sweet. Unlike (apparently) the entire rest of Seattle, my tomatoes are still very, very green. I was preparing to use Cherry Tomatoes… But I’ve got some seriously amazing bacon ready, mayo will come from my parents’ chickens, bread is my much more capable wife’s department. Didn’t plant lettuce, so it’s either Bok Choi or I’ll have to go forage something… Dandelion greens from the lawn?

  • SA

    I prefer the flavor of cornmeal rather than panko for fried green tomatoes. Might be persuaded to try a mix of cornmeal and panko.

  • Tags

    I typed “green” in Google Image and my finger got tired of clicking before I found anything that came anywhere near the flair and finesse in Donna’s photo.

  • Tim M

    The cool summer here in Denver has my tomato plants looking similar to the photo in the post.

    My lettuce will be long gone before I get red tomatoes, so I will need to replant some type of green. Does anybody have a suggestion for a late summer green? Does arugula grow well in late summer? I’ve only ever grown it in the spring.

  • Patrick R

    My 4 patio plants finally started showing some little cherry-sized tomatoes this week, so I’m hopeful that I’ll have some ripe ones before the deadline. I guess I really need to get going on that yeast culture now…

  • Jenny

    Thank you for the extension – Seattle’s warm weather’s been great for the garden, but when the butcher disappears with your pig, it’s yet another wrinkle! Tomatoes just started producing fruit this week, but lettuce is looking dandy. Maybe a Labor Day BLT, if the stars align.

  • Sean Kelly

    Just picked a 1 lb tomato last night that was threatening to damage the vine. It has the first blush of rose on its skin, but is too firm to eat uncooked.

    Barry, if you live in South Seattle, have you tried the bacon at Bob’s Quality Meat in Columbia City? It is very lean, so can be tough to get crisp, but is excellent.

  • barry

    Seattle has had unusually warm weather and our tomatoes are already in, whereas in other years we nursed them along with plastic greenhouses awaiting the end of the season sunshine. The bounty at farmer’s markets is amazing as well. Heritage varieties aplenty.

  • Vivian

    I am determined to do this. Thought I lost my tomato plants due to freakish hail storms. All but one revived and are flowering and one even has fruit (joy!)Unfortunately greens don’t do well in our summer heat so my options are limited there. Have located heritage pork (Duroc unfortunately was searching for GOS)for my bacon and am excited to work with it.

  • Wilma de Soto

    You could do Kosher Sour Pickled Green Tomatoes.

    Great for that homemade Pastrami Sandwich and they might work on a BLT.

  • Christian

    Thank you for explaining what the flour is for in the standard breading procedure. I’ve seen in in many places, but nobody seemed to see fit to explain the reason behind the “flour” step at the beginning. It will be easier to remember now, with the explanation.

  • Mak

    Thanks for extending, as our tomatoes are pretty much right where yours are. Getting there, but slowly.

  • Emily Lauren

    I’m in Cleveland Heights, and this weekend I couldn’t wait and so I made some parmesan-fried green tomatoes for my BLT… those tomatoes, coupled with bacon and mayo my boyfriend made and left in the fridge along with the last piddly bits of lettuce for the garden made quite the sandwich.

    It was wonderful. As soon as these start to ripen some more I’ll have to make another sandwich with my own bread.

    Unfortunately the lettuce will be gone (too bitter!) but maybe some sorrel? Chard? Nasturtiums (they are so spicy)?

  • erik

    Maybe I’ll be able to do this. I haven’t even gotten past a flower on my tomato plant yet though. I can’t wait until I own a house so I can plant a real garden instead of using pots.