Yes, Dorothy, there still are tomatoes in February – if you live in Los Angeles. It’s one of the many oddities of living in a warm winter climate. Up until last week, we were picking tomatoes from a volunteer tomato that had entwined itself through a giant Cecil Brunner rose, but with recent pruning, it all came to a delicious end.
The vine had grown to sprawling proportions, making access to the compost bin and one raised bed impossible. Something had to give, so prune we did.
That’s a 14 x14 foot tarp consumed by tomato trimmings. We left the main stem to re-grow this year.
From the pruning, we also acquired a handful of green tomatoes, perfect for a long-untouched recipe in the cupboard for Old-Fashioned Fried Green Tomatoes from Organic Gardening Magazine. It was easy to make and delicious. Here’s how:
Slice, salt and drain 3 medium firm green tomatoes on paper towels for 30 minutes (I only did it for 5-10 min.)
Pour 1/2 cup of buttermilk into a shallow dish (we had some left over from making butter recently)
In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup fine cornmeal, 1/2 cup corn flour or all purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt.
Dip the tomato slices into the buttermilk, the dredge them in the flour mixture. (Use one hand for wet, one hand for dry). You can double dredge and dip for a thicker coating. Set aside on a plate.
Heat 2 cups (we used about 1/2 a cup though) vegetable oil in a large skillet to medium-high heat (the recipe calls for 370ºF. Fry the tomatoes until golden brown.
Place them on a wire rack over a baking sheet to drain. Keep them warm in a 250º oven until ready to serve, but don’t leave them in there too long or they will lose crispness.
But what are fried green tomatoes without garlicky greens?
I riffed on Ann Gentry’s recipe (click link above for the real thing) and just used scads of garlic and a mixture of kales and Italian broccoli leaves.
About 8-10 leaves of kale and Cavolo Broccolo a Getti di Napoli
The garlic is cooked for 2 or 3 minutes, the greens are added and sauteed for about 5 minutes (we like them barely cooked in our household). Done!
Do you have a favorite way to prepare green tomatoes? Share your tricks here.