My born-and-raised southern husband would pick all the unripe tomatoes and fry them to layer with bacon and mayonnaise between soft white bread if it weren't for his wife smacking him away from temptation. It's only the beginning of July......be patient.
But he confessed this evening, scraping the remainder of the sauce onto his last forkful: he would eat all tomatoes green and fried if he had his way.
Well, things like this warm my heart. And even though I find it highly worthwhile to wait until a tomato is deeply bushed and full of sinfully sunkissed juice, there is something special about jumping the gun.
Fried Green Tomatoes with Sweet Basil Aioli:
Sweet Basil Aioli:
*4 florets fresh basil leaves
*1 garlic clove
*juice from 1 lemon
Place basil and garlic in a food processor fitted with a blade. Pulse. Add lemon juice and egg. With bade running add enough olive oil to create a thick sauce (about 2/3 cup). Season with sea salt with blade running. Allow to whip until consistency is airy but spoonable, about 1-2 minutes. Scrape into a glass jar fitted with a lid and store in the fridge until tomatoes are ready.
For the Tomatoes:
*3 green tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/2'' thick
*1 1/2 cups buttermilk
*2 eggs, beaten
*1/4 cup coarse grits
*2/3 cup flour
*2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
*1 teaspoon sea salt
*Fresh ground black pepper
*Olive oil for frying
Place sliced green tomatoes in a bowl of salted water for at least 1 hour, up to 3 hours before frying. Drain and rinse with cold water. Whisk buttermilk and eggs in a small mixing bowl and add sliced tomatoes. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare breading.
Mix grits, bread crumbs, sea salt and black pepper in a separate mixing bowl. Place enough olive oil over medium heat in a skillet for frying. When oil is hot, begin dredging tomatoes in breading mixture thoroughly and placing in oil. Allow to brown for about 4 minutes before flipping. Transfer to a wire rack layered with paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining tomato slices.
Serve warm drizzled with basil aioli.