The un-Zombie Tomato: Fried Heirloom Tomatoes

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(Original Post Date:  March 8, 2010)

So I was at Trader Joe’s the other day, and right now they have these big cartons of heirloom tomatoes (about $5 per large carton).  You know, those imperfectly shaped, oddly striped, green/yellow/red tomatoes that you only ever see in a garden, but never at the actual market?  (They look weird, but they more than make up for it in flavor.)

It’s been years since I’ve found a tomato like that in a mainstream market – I’m used to the mushy, grainy, dark pink, not-quite-red varieties sitting for weeks in a jumbo heap under supermarket fluorescent lights.  I much prefer a tomato bred for flavor over shelf-life, but it’s almost impossible to find them unless you have a local farm stand or farmer’s market nearby.  My husband insists that he hates tomatoes – but because he has never had the experience of eating a vine-ripened tomato, picked right off the vine – I don’t really believe him.  Those yucky “zombie” tomatoes at the supermarket don’t really count as true tomatoes, in my opinion.

So what was I going to make with these incredible heirloom tomatoes?  Fried green (and yellow) tomatoes, of course!

Fried Heirloom Tomatoes:

  • 2-3 large green or yellow heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 T. unsalted butter
  • 1 T. canola oil
  • salt, pepper, cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 c. cornmeal

1.  Slice tomatoes 1/4 inches thick.

2.  Sprinkle both sides of tomato slices with salt, pepper, and cayenne.

3.  Heat the butter and canola oil in a 12 inch cast iron skilled over medium heat.

4.  Put the cornmeal on a plate and coat each side of the tomato slices, tapping down lightly.

5.  Fry the slices on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes until golden brown, then flip and fry another 2 minutes until done.

6.  Serve with hot sauce.  (Or enjoy plain!)