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Andrea Charroin: Fried Green Tomatoes

On a stroll through Redding’s Certified Farmers Market, I spotted some amazingly beautiful green tomatoes. Yes, GREEN. I had an inspiration. My kids need to try fried green tomatoes. I marveled that I had never made the delicious beauties for my kids. Sheesh, what kind of mother am I!

I would like to believe fried green tomatoes were a treat from my childhood, made by my grandmother and favorite aunts in Oklahoma. Maybe they were. Sadly, had they been served to me I would have turned my nose up to them: Ick, GREEN! I became interested in the green tomato from reading the fantastic Fanny Flagg book — and, later, movie — “Fried Green Tomatoes,” beloved by so many of us. After reading that book, I had to try fried green tomatoes for myself. My mother made them, and I loved them! I thought that perhaps like fried okra, green tomatoes is just in my genetic make-up, something to eat only on occasion to remind one of our roots.

I made the green delights for my family. Of course I could not leave well enough alone and decided that our local goat cheese and basil would be a great complement to the tomatoes. I was right! I hope you will give green tomatoes a try. They are truly fantastic on a summer evening.

Fried Green Tomatoes

4 large, firm green tomatoes, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slicesKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste1 cup finely ground cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour1 teaspoon paprika or pimentón (a Spanish smoked paprika)2 eggs

Olive oil

2 slices goat cheese, crumbled
3 large basil leaves sliced thin to sprinkle over warm tomatoes

Get Going!

Sprinkle the tomato slices with the salt and pepper; set aside.

Combine the cornmeal, flour and paprika in a shallow bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs.

Cover the bottom of a heavy skillet with 1/2 inch of oil. Place it over medium-high heat.

Coat the tomato slices in the egg. Dredge them in the cornmeal mixture.

Fry as many tomatoes as fit comfortably in the pan, 3-4 minutes a side until golden brown.

Transfer them to a paper towel-lined platter. Repeat until all tomatoes are cooked.

Sprinkle with goat cheese and basil. Serve warm.

Editor’s note: This a best-of column that was originally published September 2, 2008.

Andrea Charroin is a trained baker and pastry chef. She worked in San Francisco before she, her husband, Westley, and their two sons moved to Redding. They fell in love with Redding’s downtown and opened a little pastry shop, Rene-Joule Patisserie.