Fried Green Tomatoes is an obvious southern dish. But adding a roasted corn and nopales relish to them, gives this iconic Southern appetizer a Southwest spin.
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As I had mentioned in my Heirloom Tomato Panzanella post, I have not always been a fan of tomatoes. I won’t even kid myself in trying to say that I’m a “huge” fan now, I’m not. But I can, at least now, see what place they have in the world. One thing is for sure, though, and that is: if you fry it, I’ll like it! I’m a fat kid, so it’s in our genes or something to like anything that’s fried.
I was recently talking to a friend of mine, Caroline, over at Pinch Me: I’m Eating about fried green tomatoes. We’ve sort of become like foodie soul sisters, bonding over living in Arizona and my wanting to visit the South. Anywho, we decided that it would be really fun to do a duo of fried green tomato posts! She did a fantastic job doing a much more traditional approach to fried green tomatoes… I, of course, had to put my own spin on it!
Caroline actually had challenged me to see if I could come up with a super Southwestern take on fried green tomatoes and I think I delivered on that. She was really surprised that I had fried green tomatoes before, seeing as how I’m currently in Arizona, it might not be a dish some might think of when they think desert. Little does she know that I worked with a Southerner once and he was the inspiration behind this dish.
Classic southwestern flavors are corn, chiles, and nopales. NopaleS?! Yeah! They’re awesome. Nopales are cactus paddles and are quite fun to cook with! They have a slightly astringent flavor and a crazy texture but they are delicious! You do have to be careful handling Nopales because they often still have some thorns still attached to them. An easy way to get rid of them is cutting the thorns out with a paring knife. Doing a slight slice where the thorn is in the paddle will get rid of it easily.
If you can’t get your hands on nopales, because of where you live, I would suggest roasting some green peppers in its stead. I would definitely check your local Mexican market before losing all hope; if they don’t carry fresh nopales, they’ll have it canned!
If you have any questions about proper frying technique, be sure to check out my awesome Fried Choux post, I go over everything you need to know about frying! Just be sure to season the fried green tomatoes immediately once they’re out of the hot oil!
I hope you really enjoy this southwest take on fried green tomatoes. I think that the relish I golden and hope you enjoy it as well!
A Southwestern take in a classic southern dish! Topped with a roasted corn and nopales relish, this appetizer will have you thinking about the desert in no time!
- 4 medium green tomatoes sliced into 4 slices each
- Flour for breading
- ½ tsp chile powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs pulsed in food processor until fine crumb
- 3 eggs and a splash of milk for egg wash
- 1 ear corn roasted and kernels removed from cob
- 1 nopales roasted and thorns removed, smalled diced
- 4 small sweet peppers roasted and skins removed, small diced
- 2 tbsp pickled mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp lime juice
Prepare relish items as instructed and mix together in a small mixing bowl. Set aside until tomatoes are ready.
In a large skillet, cast iron preferable, bring frying oil to 350 degrees. Fill the pan about halfway with oil, allowing for expansion of oil when tomatoes are dropped in.
Set up a breading station for the tomatoes. In a shallow pan, combine flour and seasonings together. In another shallow pan, mix together eggs and milk. In the last pan, place the fine panko crumbs and even out in a single layer.
Take the tomato slices and completely cover with the spiced flour. Shake off excess and dip into the egg wash. Remove from the egg wash and cover, evenly with fine panko.
Fry tomatoes in the hot oil until tomatoes are golden brown, flipping over halfway through. About 5 minutes total. Remove tomatoes from the oil and season with salt. Allow tomatoes to drain excess oil on a paper towel lined plate.
Serve immediately and garnish with relish and cilantro leaves.
Use the pickled mustard seeds in this relish from my Braised Pork Belly recipe.