Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Recreation and Sentiment

There is a pub not far from where i used to live in Atlanta that called Thinking Man Tavern. It's not too big, but it had a fine selection of beers and foods. It also has a plethora of board games that it's clients can pull down from the shelves and play while they wait for their food and drink their beer. Sometimes, they had Scrumpy , my absolute favorite cider. It's like alcoholic organic apple juice, all rich and deep and cloudy. I miss it.

It's where we would meet friends for a drink, or where everyone came if I had an event to celebrate. It was my local and I adored it. I hope to go and play a game of Sorry, have a round of Scrumpy and eat a Fried Green Tomato sandwich there again sometime soon.

Their menu was great and there were many things there that I got to enjoy. But the Fried Green Tomato sandwich was my absolute favorite. Served on Ciabatta bread, it was just the right amount of crisp. The goat cheese on it would get delightfully melty and they would also include a regular tomato slice, a little sweet to balance out the tart.

So a week or so ago I put in a special request with Meadow Valley that they drop me off a few green tomatoes along with my regular basket of veggies, because I was homesick and I wanted a taste of Thinking Man.

After a couple of experiments, I have what I consider is a good representation. It's not the real thing, but it'll certainly do. These tomatoes fry up with a delicious and crisp breading that doesn't feel heavy or oily. The tomatoes are tart and bright and the texture is just perfect. Topped with some fresh basil and goat cheese, they make a great side, or you can get some good Ciabatta bread rolls and eat them with as a sandwich. And if you happen to have a glass of Scrumpy laying around, you should probably drink that too.

Fried Green Tomatoes

About Panko. You can buy Panko in many supermarkets. It's basically Japanese Style Breadcrumbs. They are chunkier and crispier. I tend to make my own though, by pulsing the heel of a loaf of bread in the blender and then scattering the crumbs over a baking sheet and baking lightly until they are brown and crispy.

2 Medium-Large Green Tomatoes
1 Egg, beaten
2 Tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs
2 Tablespoons Yellow Cornmeal
3 Tablespoons Cornflour (Cornstarch)
4 Tablespoons Canola or Light Vegetable oil for frying
Salt and Pepper

In a wide skillet, heat up the canola oil. Grab three wide shallow bowls. Beat the egg in one, shake out the cornflour in another, and in the third mix the Panko, Cornmeal, salt and pepper. Slice your tomatoes thickly, at least 1/4 of an inch if not thicker. Pat off moisture with a paper towel then coat with cornflour, then egg, then the Panko/Cornmeal. Fry in the canola oil until brown and then flip to the other side. These brown very quickly so keep a close eye on them. Remove to paper towels and pat dry.
I find that one big tomato works well to serve two people. So this yields about four servings.
I top these with goat cheese and fresh basil, or eat them in a sandwich, adding in some lettuce or slaw for extra crunch.

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