A fried green tomato salad featuring fried green tomatoes, goat cheese, corn, and a zingy roasted red pepper dressing. A fun salad idea perfect for summer entertaining!
A SOUTHERN SUMMER STAPLE
If you know your food geography, the words “fried green tomatoes” will send your mind straight to the South. Come summertime, Southern restaurants are serving up this staple as an appetizer in abundance, and it is a beloved seasonal menu-item at the farm-to-table establishments down here in Texas as well.
THE SUMMER THE TOMATOES TOOK OVER
Up until a few years ago, restaurants were the only place I had ever had fried green tomatoes. However, our first experience gardening with tomatoes would change that forevermore. You see, my husband really loves tomatoes, in fact, he planted all of thirty tomato plants the first summer we attempted to grow them.
As it turned out, the tomato plants under our growing conditions would yield up to 15 pounds of fruit per growing season. That’s a lot of tomatoes, folks. We now lovingly refer to that time as the summer the tomatoes took over.
Needless to say, we were looking for anything and everything we could make with tomatoes, and quite possibly the dish we were most excited to attempt at home was fried green tomatoes. We quickly learned fried green tomatoes are seriously easy to make at home.
FRIED GREEN TOMATOES ARE EASY TO MAKE
The recipe development for the fried green tomato itself came easy. Just a simple buttermilk bath, followed by a dunk in seasoned flour was just right. Then, off to some hot oil to develop a perfect, crunchy crust.
THE BEST FRIED GREEN TOMATO SALAD
After settling on a fried green tomato recipe, a salad idea came quickly to mind. I wanted a summer salad that would perfectly compliment my new favorite summer dish, homemade fried green tomatoes.
KEEP IT LIGHT
Although green tomatoes have a tart and bright quality to them, once battered and fried, they’re much heavier and take on a buttery, heavier mouthfeel. I wanted ingredients that would lighten that up, and also make the salad fun and exciting.
AND ADD SOME PERFECT PAIRINGS
Watercress was my top pick for greens as it pairs so perfectly with tomatoes, and has a somewhat spicy bite to it, adding an interesting note of complexity to the salad. If you can’t find watercress or just don’t want to have to mess with picking off all of those little leaves, arugula makes a great substitution! Then, add a little corn for some sweetness and goat cheese for a little more tang made for the perfect medley. And to top it all off? Well, I’ll let you be the judge of that.
THE BEST SAUCE FOR FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
The sauce you’re most likely find accompanying your fried green tomatoes at a restaurant is a classic ranch dressing, but depending on where your dining in the South, you could also be served up a remoulade. If you’re looking to make your own ranch, this one’s pretty great, and for the remoulade, maybe give this recipe from Genius Kitchen a go.
However, if you’re looking for something really special to douse those fried green tomatoes with, allow me to point you in the right direction — a quick and easy zingy roasted red pepper dressing.
A SAUCE MADE ESPECIALLY FOR FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
This roasted red pepper dressing whips right up in a food processor or blender, and just like the salad, was created to pair perfectly alongside a fried green tomato. It consists mostly of roasted red bell peppers (usually found alongside either Italian or Greek ingredients in the international aisle of your grocery store), fresh shallots and garlic, as well as smoked paprika. It’s a creamy, piquant dressing that puts this fried green tomato salad in a league of its own.
If ever your taste buds should land you in the Southern region, know you don’t have to make it all the way down South to enjoy the glorious fried green tomato. It’s a fried green tomato salad of restaurant quality, easily made in your own home. Please, enjoy!
A fried green tomato salad featuring fried green tomatoes, goat cheese, corn, and a zingy roasted red pepper dressing.
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
- 1 small garlic clove chopped
- 1 roasted red bell pepper from a jar, patted dry
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 1/2 tsp fresh tarragon minced (optional)
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- Generous pinch Kosher salt
- Pinch black pepper
- 2 1/4 c buttermilk
- 4 dashes hot sauce
- 4 green tomatoes sliced 1/4" thick and halved
- 1 1/2 c canola oil
- 1 c all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c fine cornmeal
- 1 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 6 c arugula or 2 bunches watercress stemmed, rinsed and dried*
- 1 c cooked corn
- 2 oz Goat Cheese crumbled
Combine all ingredients in a blender or a food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, combine buttermilk and hot sauce. Add tomato sliced and allow to soak for 15-20 minutes.
Add oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. In a pie dish or a breading tray, mix together flour, cornmeal, salt, smoked paprika and pepper. Once the oil is heated, remove the tomatoes from the buttermilk mixture, one at a time, shaking off excess liquid, then dredge each slice liberally in the flour mixture.
Fry for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes on each side. Do not overcrowd the pan. Toss together the ingredients for the salad, top with fried green tomatoes and serve with Zingy Roasted Red Pepper Dressing.
For best results, serve this salad while the fried green tomatoes are still hot, fresh out of the oil!