It’s a sad thing to watch your special tomato plants slowly die with quantities of beautiful green tomatoes still hanging there. The drooping leaves turn yellow preparing for winter – the fruit hangs lower. Sadly, most of those tomatoes won’t have time to ripen before it is time to chop out the vines.
But all those tomatoes will get another chance.
As I cut out the old, spent branches, I gather up what to many is the basis of a delicious seasonal favorite often attributed to Southern country cooking. Savory fried or roasted green tomatoes are a great starter or side dish served with other Southern favorites like fried chicken and ribs from the grill.
I have a plan for these emerald fruits! Some I will allow to ripen slowly to perfection in my windowsill and use fresh. Some will get spots and need to be thrown into the compost bin. And some – I smack my lips – will make their appearance at our table as an incarnation known as fried (or in this case oven-roasted) green tomatoes. Having a mother from Jackson, Mississippi, gave me a love for Southern cooking.
Oven-Roasted Green Tomatoes:
It is as easy as cutting a tomato in half. Use only unblemished fruit~ that should be pretty easy as the young tomatoes are usually flawless. To me, cut in half, they are a beautiful sight, displaying their hidden inner intricacy.
~Sea salt and pepper to taste
~Optional: ground cayenne pepper
~Optional: medium ground cornmeal
~Optional: add your favorite shredded cheese at the end
1. Quarter large tomatoes. Halve smaller tomatoes. Leave cherry tomatoes whole. You don’t need to worry about removing the seeds.
2. Place the cut-up tomatoes in a single layer in a glass casserole dish — a rimmed dish is important as there will be some juice.
3. Drizzle some olive oil over the top of the tomatoes, then add salt and pepper and gently toss to coat. I like my tomatoes a little on the spicy side, so I also add a few dashes of ground cayenne to mine and often sprinkle cornmeal on top.
4. Place your tomatoes in a pre-heated 250 degree oven. Let your tomatoes roast for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until they are soft. (Note: there are recommendations for everything from 250 to 400 degrees for roasting, but I like 250 best because it results in a nice, slow, gentle roasting and very tender, sweet roasted green tomatoes.)
5. Cheese lovers: once roasted and tender, sprinkle on your favorite shredded cheese and replace into the oven for the last few minutes.
You could eat roasted green tomatoes spread on a piece of warm crusty bread. You could use them to top a pizza or as a really unique topping to a burger (roasted green tomatoes and sharp cheddar or provolone cheese — yummy!)
Fried Green Tomatoes:
Have you ever had roasted or fried green tomatoes?
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Thanks for reading!