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Aug 7, 2008 11:17 AM

Fried Tomatoes

Don't feel like eating out much this time of year. But I do end up food shopping daily! Hard to resist the local corn and tomatoes. I wait all year for this stuff! I go through my list of everything that tastes better with a dead ripe slice of tomato or three on it. And everything that goes with corn on the cob. Oh wait, is there anything that doesn't go with corn on the cob??? But my absolute favorite from my childhood is fried tomatoes. I like them on white bread with a gravy made from milk and fried tomato scraps. It was the only treat I would stuff myself with as a kid to the point of holding my tummy afterwards. The ultimate comfort food for me. Some things you just have to cook yourself. Anyone else here a huge fan?

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  1. I absolutely love fried green tomatoes. I just last night plucked two off the vine and was eating them within 20 mins. I had to call my mom and brag about it. It is a shame that regular grocery stores don't sell green tomatoes.
    I'm going to have to try the gravy from the fried tomato scraps. Never heard of it but it sounds delicious!

    15 Replies
    1. re: calikoala

      Oh it is! Just use some of the oil left in the pan from frying and some of the flour that the tomatoes were dipped in to make a nice paste and then add any juice left on the cutting board from the tomatoes. Add the milk and simmer gently til the flour is cooked and the gravy doesn't have that raw flour taste. Add the fried scraps of tomato leftover from the nice slices you fried. earlier and when it is all simmered nicely (shouldn't take long) salt and pepper to taste and (this is secret tech from my grandmother) the tiniest squeeze from a bottle of ketchup into the hot gravy, stir and serve. The ketchup sounds awful but it is only a tiny bit and makes the gravy perfect!

      1. re: givemecarbs

        That sounds great. I first had fried tomatoes in Home Ec in junior high. We had to make vegetable dishes and that's what I was "stuck" with. I loved them. These are actually sauteed red tomatoes. Dip slices in seasoned flour, saute in a mixture of butter and olive oil, med-high heat so they brown quickly and don't get too mushy. Making a gravy from the fixings is going to put it over the top! I'm making them tomorrow!!!

        1. re: jacquelyncoffey

          Awesome! I use red tomatoes also. The really ripe scraps are great in the gravy. There is a special tomato sauce I make sometimes in the fall right before the first killing frost when all the green tomatoes have to be picked. I use some red tomatoes or tomato puree too and the sauce has a lot of character. I made it once for an old friend and when he ate it over pasta he was awash in childhood memories. His family used to make that same sauce in October. I'm smiling now just thinking about it.

          1. re: givemecarbs

            "There is a special tomato sauce I make sometimes in the fall right before the first killing frost when all the green tomatoes have to be picked."

            givemecarbs, I'd love to see your recipe for this sauce if you'd share.

            1. re: OldDog

              Sounds a bit like a tomato roux -got my attention.

            2. re: givemecarbs

              I would love to have that recipe! My friends give me all of their "last pickings" and it would be great to have something new and delicious to make from them

              1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                Oh, sorry I didn't reply sooner. I just cut up and cook down the green tomatoes along with some ripe ones if I have any. (Ripe tomatoes don't last long around me. My favorite sandwich as a child was a lettuce and tomato sandwich on white with a little mayo. And I still love them this time of year.) You can just proceed with your favorite tomato sauce recipe then, just using the green tomatoes instead. For me it is different every year but the year my dear friend got transported back in time to his depression-era boyhood I had a lot of green tomatoes in the sauce and I didn't overcook them. Made the sauce more tangy and nutty tasting than usual with a little bite to it. I know I threw some nicely browned and cooked pork chops in there to mellow the tomatoes a bit. To me. nothing gives tomato sauce that mellow completeness like pork does. Sometimes I toss a chopped zucchini in the sauce when it is almost done.

          2. re: givemecarbs

            givemecarbs: THAT is it exactly. my mom calls it tomato gravy and serves it over white bread, or white rice. poor southern depression food, but boy is it goooooood. i'm having some today! (but mom never uses ketchup, but i might give it a shot.)

            1. re: alkapal

              I always thought tomato gravy was something my parents made up! I'm from Iowa and never knew of anyone else who had the stuff before. My mom only uses ripe tomatoes though.

              1. re: pollymerase

                i asked my mom again about her tomato gravy, and it is basically fresh stewed ripe tomatoes added to a light roux made with bacon grease, and cooked with water -- not milk -- till the flour taste is gone. her family (florida panhandle in the depression) used the tomatoes that were getting soft (and not so good for eating just sliced with dinner). mom's mom hailed from that area, but her dad came from oklahoma.

                i love a tomato sandwich: (and this is nostalgic, big time) fresh thick slice(s) of juicy red ripe tomatoes on white bread, slathered with hellman's mayo, and sprinkled with salt and pepper. it has to be why wonder bread was invented. (btw, who does a wonderbread taste-texture lookalike these days?)

                1. re: alkapal

                  My gram's tomato gravy was bacon grease, ripe tomatoes from her garden all mixed in a roux base. And we either served over toast or stale biscuits. Delicious.

                  and alkapal- you described the PERFECT tomato sandwich.

                  1. re: jeanmarieok

                    i was just down in florida and got to enjoy a bee-yoo-tiful drippy tomato sandwich.

                    jeanmarieok, we must be related. ;-)).

                    1. re: jeanmarieok

                      Over stale biscuits...sounds delicious!

            2. re: calikoala

              calikoala, I use heirloom green tomatoes, which you can buy at farmers markets. Since they're firmer than ripe red heirlooms, and they are often slightly more acidic in flavour, I find them an acceptable substitute for underripe green tomatoes (which are the classic tomato to use, I know).

              I like dipping them in semolina for extra crunchiness before frying.

              1. re: calikoala

                I would luv your recipe if you don't mind? My plants are loaded and I've never tried fried green tomatoes........

                Thank You

              2. My grandmother used to make a dish that she called, "Tomato Sop," no, not "slop." You slice super ripe (almost too ripe) tomatoes about two inches thick. Dry them off with a paper towel. Dredge them in all purpose flour mixed with salt and pepper. Shake off the excess flour. Dunk them in beaten egg yolks and then dredge them in the flour again. The breading should be fairly thick.

                Next, fry some bacon in a cast iron pan until very crisp. Leave the bacon grease in the pan and fry the breaded tomatoes in the bacon grease. You want the tomatoes to be pretty well cooked but not falling apart. Set the fried tomatoes aside on paper towels (or a cooling rack--but I doubt my grandmother even had one!).

                Sprinkle all purpose flour into the bacon grease, making a light-colored roux. Add whole milk or half and half, as well as any tomato juice or tomato bits on your cutting board and cook until thick. Add salt and pepper to the milk gravy. Go heavy on the ground pepper.

                Add the fried tomatoes back into the milk gravy.

                Toast some white bread slices. Pour the tomato and milk gravy over the toasted bread. (Or, come to think of it, place one or two fried tomato slices directly on the toasted bread and pour the milk gravy over the tomatoes. This would preserve the physical integrity of the tomatoes better and might preserve the crisp crust better--although I never saw my grandmother do it this way.) Crumble the extremely crisp bacon on top. (It is important that the bacon be extremely crisp and crumbled in little pieces because the milk gravy will make the bacon get soggy soon and little bits of bacon are still very edible, but bigger pieces of bacon are too stringy.)

                5 Replies
                1. re: gfr1111

                  sounds good, grf1111. but 2" slices, is that right? you must have some whopper tomatoes!

                  1. re: alkapal

                    This thread is awesome! I prefer thinner slices myself, and when they are done I put the fried slices on a paper plate to absorb some of the grease. This is usually a breakfast dish for my family and my secret tech is to have two fry pans of tomato slices cooking at once if I am making fried tomatoes for more than two people. It speeds up the process so the tomato slices are still warm when the gravy is done and is less time cooking over a hot stove in august! Also with two pans you can start frying up the tomato trimmings left over from the slices sooner. If I get interupted or something and the tomato slices get cold I place the tomato slices on the white bread and then spoon the hot gravy over, but if the slices are still warm I set them on top of the bread and gravy. You chowhounds must be able to tell how much I love this dish and how much fun I am having posting about it. When my grandmother made fried tomatoes for four or five people we would run out of tomato slices for seconds or thirds so I would devour the leftover gravy and bread until I was stuffed!

                    1. re: alkapal


                      Yeah, I probably overstated the thickness of the slices of tomato. Remember, this was recipe from my extreme youth and everything gets bigger in your memory. Maybe one inch thick slices? Anyway, thick enough so that the tomato slices don't fall apart very easily.

                    2. re: gfr1111

                      My Dad used to make fried green tomatoes almost exactly like this. Two medium tomatoes per person, and using bread crumbs or cornmeal instead of flour for the third step. He'd usually cook about a pound of bacon for our family of 5 and fry the tomatoes in the grease. 2 or 3 bacon slices extra hard and crispy. When the tomatoes were all done (kept warm in baking dishes, 200 degree oven, with paper towels in between layers) he'd make the milk gravy as above, pouring off all but a 2-3 tablespoons of the grease first, and then crumble in the crispy bacon and season with a few shakes of tabasco. Gravy poured directly over the tomatoes, we always had the toast and additional bacon on the side on the side. He made this one morning when a black friend who'd grown up in rural South Carolina during the depression was over, and after his third helping he turned to Dad and asked if he was sure he wasn't black. <g>

                      Heart attack on a plate, but SO good!

                    3. oh I love tomatoes too. A big favourite sandwich is 2 slices of toast, spread thick with Duke's mayo and sliced tomatoes with a little salt. Heaven. I have 6 tomato plants in my yard right now and we have already had a dozen ripe ones (south Fl).

                      My dad used to make scrambled eggs with fried tomatoes. He sliced tomatoes, cooked them in a frying pan with butter turning only once when they were well done on one side (almost burnt but not quite) then add lightly mixed eggs with lots of salt and pepper and scramble. Serve hot on toast. That was our daddy Sunday breakfast and about the only thing he ever cooked.

                      1. Wow cant' believe I found this thread! My mom used to make fried "ripe" tomatoes in the summer with milk gravy can't believe how much i miss that dish.