Pickled fried green tomatoes are the perfect way to use an early or late tomato harvest. Pull out your trusty cast-iron skillet and get ready to make this super simple (and flavourful) recipe.
MAKING PICKLED FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
Maybe you have an abundance of green tomatoes in your garden that need to get used up, or maybe you just have a hankering for this classic Southern side.
In any case, pickling the tomatoes before frying them really gives them an extra punch and imparts them with incredible flavour.
Here’s what we’ll need.
PICKLED FRIED GREEN TOMATOES VIDEO
Pickled fried green tomatoes couldn’t be easier to make, but if this is your first time, here’s a video tutorial. If you’re new to Vintage Kitchen Vixen, you’re about to see that I do things a little differently when it comes to my videos… For more videos like this, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel!
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TOOLS AND INGREDIENTS FOR FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
A large cast-iron skillet (or a couple!)
One big bowl for pickling the tomatoes (or a giant ziplock big)
A large shallow dish for dipping the tomatoes in cornmeal
3 green tomatoes
3-4 cups of pickle juice (enough to cover the tomatoes)
1 cup fine ground cornmeal
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 tsp salt (add more to taste)
SLICING THE TOMATOES
When it comes to fried green tomatoes, a thicker cut seems to be the norm.
My husband, for example, loves his tomatoes on the thick side, but as for myself, I like them sliced thin.
I usually go for a 1/4″ inch thickness, and since I don’t like using a lot of oil for the fry, I find that this gives them a nice crisp finish.
Slice them according to your preference.
If this is your first time making fried green tomatoes, why not try both ways to see which you like best?
PICKLING THE TOMATOES
I usually keep a half gallon jar of pickles in my fridge at all times, so pickle juice isn’t hard to come by.
Plus, I hate wasting food. I mean, I save onion peels to make my own stock for soups and apple peels for apple cider vinegar, so of course I’m going to use my pickle juice!
While skipping this step will still result in a delicious batch of fried green tomatoes, pickling takes them to the next level.
It doesn’t even take very long!
Once the tomatoes are sliced, cover them with the brine and let them marinate for 30-60 minutes. You won’t be sorry you did.
THE CORNMEAL MIXTURE
When it comes to fried green tomatoes, there are so many different ways to prepare them.
Some folks, for example, will dip their tomatoes in egg before breading them.
Sometimes there’s buttermilk or hot sauce in the egg, sometimes there isn’t.
Normally I’ll coat something with egg when I want my breading to stick, like when I’m making my pan-fried chicken, but I don’t believe it’s necessary with the pickled tomatoes.
For one, tomatoes are quite juicy to begin with (and even more so after the brine) so dipping them in egg is superfluous.
Second, why overcomplicate things and make more dishes?
Since my goal is to keep things as simple as possible with this recipe, the only thing that’s needed for the breading is a mix of cornmeal, Old Bay Seasoning, and a wee bit of salt.
I encourage you to play around with this mixture, however.
Experiment with dried herbs, like basil, parsley, or rosemary.
Sprinkle in some cayenne pepper or garlic powder.
Make it your own!
GETTING READY TO FRY
Can I tell you a secret?
I hate frying my food.
I’m pretty health conscious when it comes to how I prepare meals for my family, and what’s more, I never did figure out what to do with all of that excess oil after getting my fry on.
If you want true fried green tomatoes, then don’t be shy with your cooking oil.
Add enough oil so that there’s a depth of 1/4″ to 1/2″.
Make sure you use something with a high smokepoint, like avocado oil, lard or tallow.
Shucks, you can even include a little bacon grease to the mix!
Coconut oil (not virgin) also has a high smokepoint, but it will alter the flavour of your fried green tomatoes.
By the way, if you’re curious as to why I’m recommending animal fats instead of vegetable oils like canola, check out a copy of Nourishing Traditions the next time you’re at the library. It’s a fascinating read!
HEATING THE SKILLET
Whether you decide to skimp or be generous with the cooking oil, make sure you start heating the skillet while you’re dipping the tomatoes in the cornmeal.
The tomatoes shouldn’t be sitting around all dressed with nowhere to go for very long.
Time it out so that the oil is ready for the first layer of tomatoes, then keep going from there.
When the oil is good and hot, add the tomatoes, being careful not to crowd the pan.
Give them a flip after a couple of minutes.
When they’re golden brown on both sides, remove them from the pan, transferring them to a layer of paper towels to drain.
SERVING PICKLED FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
Pickled fried green tomatoes make the perfect side dish when the garden is spilling over with good things to eat.
They also make a terrific appetizer served with spicy mayo or a ranch dip (I’m partial to my homemade kefir ranch dip).
Use them to spruce up a BLT sandwich, sneak them into hamburgers, or serve them up at breakfast.
FRYING UP PICKLED GREEN TOMATOES
I hope you love this recipe for pickled fried green tomatoes as much as I do!
I’m curious to hear how they turn out for you and what you do differently to make these your own.
Tell me all about them in the comments below, and if you have any questions, please send them my way!
In the meantime, here are some other recipes to help you use up your garden bounty.
MORE VEGGIE RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE
Fermented chili lemon carrot sticks (these make terrific probiotic-rich snacks!)
Good old-fashioned sauerkraut (if you’re brand new to fermenting, I’ve got you!)
SHOP THIS POST
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon-Morell
PRINTABLE PICKLED FRIED GREEN TOMATOES RECIPE CARD
Pickled Fried Green Tomatoes
- 12" Cast Iron Skillet
- Large Bowl
- Shallow Dish
- 3 green tomatoes sliced
- 3-4 cups pickle juice (enough to cover the tomatoes)
- 1 cup fine ground cornmeal
- 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
- 1/4 tsp Salt (adjust to taste)
- Cooking Oil ie. avocado oil, lard, tallow, etc.
- In a large bowl, marinate the sliced green tomatoes in the pickle juice for 30-60 minutes.
- Mix the cornmeal, Old Bay and salt in a large shallow dish. Taste the seasonings and adjust as needed.
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet with the oil. For a real good fry, add enough oil so that it's 1/4" to 1/2" high, but you can also get away with using less oil.
- While the skillet and oil are heating, dip the tomatoes in the cornmeal mixture. Be careful not to let the tomatoes sit around in the cornmeal for too long!
- Fry the tomatoes until they're golden on both sides. If you're using a lot of oil, be sure to drain them on paper towel.
- Whisk up an egg with some buttermilk and hot sauce to dip the tomatoes in before dredging them in cornmeal.
- Experiment by adding different seasonings to the cornmeal ie. dried herbs, cayenne pepper, cumin, sumac, etc.
- Make them an appetizer by serving them up with mayonnaise mixed with hot sauce or a good ranch dip.
- Turn them into a side dish.
- Sneak them into BLTs, burgers, or on a breakfast plate.
PIN IT FOR LATER
Love and gratitude,