Frying chicken, at its best, is a state of mind formed much in the same way as the quiet back beats of a porch-sitting session with a dear friend. It has a rhythm. It is good company on a sunny summer afternoon. It is pointless to rush. Futile, even. Besides, the comfort of a good friend comes from the effortlessness of meaningful conversation and is further heightened by the knowledge you have nothing you would rather do. Continue reading
Then last year Amy and I went to The Publican restaurant in Chicago. It is an everything pig restaurant. Crispy pigs ears, everything fried in lard, boudin blanc and, well, you get the picture.
It is great restaurant so it isn’t surprising they have amazing side dishes too. The one that caught my attention was the fried green tomatoes. I almost didn’t order it but, then as I often do, at the last minute I went back to it and did. I was very, very happy I did. It was simply the most delicious version of fried green tomatoes I have ever eaten.
This was a midwinter outing. So green tomatoes at home were out, at least until summer, but I was impressed enough I looked for the recipe online and was surprised to find nothing, well, not nothing there were zillions of fried green tomato recipes cooked like I mentioned earlier.
Nevertheless this dish resonated with me. I made it once earlier this summer and it wasn’t to my standards. It was really good but it just didn’t work like I wanted from a technical standpoint. Now it is late fall and I have come back to it and this time it came out great.
It is so good for several reasons. The tomatoes are cut into wedges which keeps them a little firmer when cooked, not tough, and you get more tomato jelly with the wedge shape then if you had a slice. Also oatmeal and pig are like bread and butter, they just go together, and it feels good to have these two flavors co-mingling and you can accomplish this without buying buckets of lard.
It is time to share this recipe. I hope you enjoy it.
Note: I made this gluten-free and egg free. If you don’t need to be gluten-free or egg free then substitute in all-purpose flour for the Cup4Cup and instead of using the egg replacer use three egg whites beaten to stiff peaks.
Makes 4 servings
7 to 10 green tomatoes, about the size of a small tangerine, cut into 4 or 6 wedges
1/3 cup quick cooking oats, not instant oats
1/3 cup quick cooking oats, coarsely ground
1/2 cup Cup4Cup flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon ground garlic
2 tablespoons egg replacer mixed in a large bowl with 1/4 cup water (or 3 egg whites whipped to medium peaks, also in a large bowl)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspooon black pepper
peanut oil for frying
1 thick slice pancetta or bacon
1. Combine the oats, flour, paprika, garlic powder salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
2. Heat the oven to 250˚ F. Pour enough peanut oil into a 6 inch deep cast iron Dutch oven to come 1/3 the way up the sides of the pan. Add the pancetta to the oil. Place it over medium high heat and heat the oil to 375˚ F. on a fry thermometer. Make sure to remove the pancetta when it is crispy and has rendered its fat to the oil and make sure you, as the cook, eat the pancetta because it is within the rights of every good cook to eat the best bits while standing at the stove and if the peanut gallery doesn’t like it tell them to learn how to cook.
3. When the oil is just about to temperature toss half the tomatoes with the flour mix making sure to coat the tomatoes well. Place them into the bowl with the egg replacer or egg whites and toss them to coat. Put them back into the flour mix and coat them well. Remove them to a cookie cooling rack. Repeat this step with the remaining tomatoes.
4. If the oil is to temperature carefully add half , or less, of the tomatoes to the oil making sure not to crowd them. When they start to take on color and brown remove them from the hot oil, sprinkle them with salt, and place them onto the cookie rack. Add the rest of the uncooked tomatoes to the pot then slide the fried tomatoes into the oven to keep them warm.
5. Serve with you favorite tartar sauce, aioli, or hot sauce