I live in a prolific fruit and vegetable garden. You’ve read that countless times on this blog. I have shared an approximate list of our backyard produce in Lakou Lakay and devoted articles to our apples, loquats, peaches, plums, just to name a few.
I, however, failed to mention that I have nothing to do with this fruitful orchard.
I do not have a green thumb. And, in all honesty, neither do I have an interest in getting one. My preferred version of gardening involves monitoring budding fruits so as to handpick them before our birds and human birds.
This lack of interest in gardening, did not stop me from jumping on the bandwagon that travelled through during the quarantine, however. Back in May, like many around the world, I undertook the serious task of starting a vegetable garden. I collected empty egg shells that I used as seed starters for various crops, some of which have yet to bear fruits or, unfortunately, have died of neglect. As Haiti emerged out of the quarantine and I headed back to the office, I simply forgot to water them on a regular basis.
Surprisingly my tomato crops survived my lack of nurturing.
For the past month, I have regularly harvested ripe, semi ripe and green tomatoes. My choice of ripeness varies with the dishes I prepare. Fully ripe tomatoes make great sauces and of course salads, while the semi ripe ones make for crunchy salsas. As for the unripe ones, they lend themselves to juicy and crunchy fried green tomatoes.
I first discovered fried green tomatoes in New Orleans
They conquered my palate on our very first encounter. Not only do they make great appetizers, but they complement sandwiches and make a great standalone snack as well. They add the perfect juicy yet tangy burst to my Spicy Grilled Shrimp Sandwich with Caramelized Bacon, my adaptation of a New Orleans grilled shrimp po’boy, with a crunch. Layered in between grilled shrimp slaughtered in a spicy mayo sauce, they make for a scrumptious salad just like the one below which I have created for Cafe 36, a restaurant based in Haiti. They can also be used as a pizza topping or enjoyed on their own with a dipping sauce.
Simply put, fried green tomatoes bring unexpected juicy crunchiness to any dish that would otherwise lack in texture.
Unfortunately, we don’t sell unripe tomatoes in Haiti. We don’t even eat them that way. The riper our tomatoes the happier our cooks seem. That alone should motivate me to keep nurturing my tomato plants. For how else could I keep on enjoying fried green tomatoes? Yet, I cannot deny that I may not have the patience to take care of them so as to keep them alive. I can simply hope that the secret garden angel who’s currently watering and nurturing them for me will continue to do so.
Fried Green Tomatoes
- 1 green unripe tomato
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp Pepper
- ¼ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp garlic
- Oil for frying
- In a bowl, whip the egg
- Add the cream and seasoning and whip until combined
- Slice the tomato to your desired thickness
- Dip each slice in the egg mixture
- Coat with the breadcrumbs
- Repeat the process twice for a thick crust
- Heat some oil
- Fry the tomato slices until golden flipping once
- Drain and transfer to a paper towel to remove the excess oil
- Enjoy your fried green tomatoes with your favorite dipping sauce, add to your sandwich or use as a pizza topping