Dirt to Table Experience: Fried Green Tomatoes with a Buttermilk Dipping Sauce

The first time that I had ever heard the words “Fried Green Tomatoes” was the title of the 1991 movie that I absolutely loved.  This was the beginning of my point of reference.  My mind opens and begins to expand around this often viewed southern dish (which is served up in northern states too).

Fast forward twenty-two years that includes a move to the panhandle of Florida, just a few miles shy of the gateway to rural Georgia, and a mere hour from Alabama.  I have a good sized garden to call my own, deep in the South where growing tomatoes is considered to be in your blood (Growing them is not in my blood but, I am striving for the title).

This was the first year with thirty-five heirloom varieties planted that I had my first tomato boom. Forget squashes and eggplant that can be the summer gift that keeps on giving, it was my TOMATOES.  It is a romantic notion that your bounty of vine ripened tomatoes can be enjoyed endlessly.  Fresh tomatoes don’t have a very long shelf life before they take the leap to the process of rotting.

Another leap forward and you are ready to try your hand at fried green tomatoes.  SHUT the FRONT DOOR!  Fresh unripened green tomatoes lightly breaded and fried in a skillet with a shallow oil layer is divine.  Served hot with a buttermilk dipping sauce can make you weep. 
It is a beautiful and simply prepared dish.  Serve it up as an appetizer, side dish, oh what the heck it can be a main dish too, along with a good beer or wine, or a tall glass of southern iced tea.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Serves 4
Recipe from Patrick and Gina Neely

4 Green Tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch rings
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon garlic powder
4 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch paprika
Buttermilk Dipping Sauce, recipe follows
In a deep-fryer, preheat oil to 350 degrees F.  ( Note: I used a skillet )

Season tomatoes on both sides, with salt and pepper.  Place flour and garlic powder in a shallow dish.  In another shallow dish, beat eggs with the milk.  In another shallow dish, mix bread crumbs with cayenne and paprika.  Dredge the tomatoes through the flour, then the eggs, and then through the bread crumbs.  Add only a few pieces to the fryer at a time, so that they can cook evenly, about 2-3 minutes.  Drain on paper towels, and serve with buttermilk dipping sauce.
Buttermilk Dipping Sauce

1 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
1 lime juiced
4 scallions, sliced thin
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the apple cider and brown sugar.  Allow to reduce until thick and syrupy.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a medium bowl add buttermilk, mayonnaise, BBQ sauce and lime juice and whisk well.  Add in the scallions and the apple cider mixture.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve with the fried green tomatoes.


37 thoughts on “Dirt to Table Experience: Fried Green Tomatoes with a Buttermilk Dipping Sauce

  1. I made Tyler Florence's recipe with buttermilk and corn meal. Wow, was that ever good! No green tomatoes happening in our garden. But, if I come across them, I'm making them again. They are delicious!


  2. Dear Velva, It sounds like your bounty of tomatoes is a good one! I am happy for you. There are so many great dishes for you to make with these beauties. I am sure the list is endless. Keep some good bread for dipping. The fried green tomatoes are a real treat and sound great with the dipping sauce.Blessings dearest, Catherine xo


  3. I liked that movie too, but believe it or not, I've never eaten fried green tomatoes. Yours looks absolutely gorgeous – must be because they're home grown!


  4. What fun! I made these for one of our chefs in the 50 women chef series, but have never served them with a dipping sauce. Great idea and super recipe!


  5. Thank you Velva for stopping by our blog and leaving a lovely comment! We never had fried green tomatoes before, but yours look absolutely divine! Thanks for sharing this recipe! We will be back soon…:)


  6. I love the movie Fried Green Tomatoes. Usually I'm not one to watch the same movie more than once, but I watch Fried Green Tomatoes every time it's on! It is simply not summer until you have a plate of fried green tomatoes:) I absolutely love them and yours look fantastic!


  7. OMG, now I am craving Fried Green Tomatoes. I will definitely be trying that dipping sauce, it sounds delicious. There is a restaurant in Tuscaloosa, AL (my daughter went to the Univ. of AL) that makes a delicious recipe too and I have the recipe. You might want to try it sometime. I'll send it to you. I am so impressed with your tomatoes and I prefer the Heirlooms too. I didn't get any planted this year but last year we had an abundance of them. You should share which ones you have planted and did you get your plants at Native Nursery?Carolyn


  8. Fried green tomatoes are one of my life's greatest pleasures. Growing up in Texas, they were easily found but living as an adult in NYC, they are a much more infrequent treat. Your story reminds me of Weezer who tries to pass off all her excess tomatoes in Steel Magnolias: \”I'm a Southern woman–we're supposed to dress in ugly clothes and grow things in the dirt!\”


  9. Velva,I LOVE fried green tomatoes!!! After eating them 3 times this past vacation home to NC, I've been dying to make them at home so your recipe is coming just in the nick of time. Hope you're having an incredible summer!


  10. Hi Velva, you've taken me back to my childhood with this post. My Mom used to make fried green tomatoes all the time. I know they've gotten popular over the past few years, but I remember them when… Great post and recipe! Thanks! Bill


  11. That was a terrific movie. And these are terrific looking fried green tomatoes! I love that dish, but never thought to serve them with buttermilk dipping sauce. Next time I will! Thanks for this.


  12. Ooo…what a lovely idea of how to serve these kind of tomatoes. And how about turning them into burger fillings..huh ?Hope you're going to have a lovely weekend dear.blessings, Kristy


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