Fried green tomato variation inspired by Mr. Stitt

Published 1:33 am Saturday, July 9, 2016

We had a three-day trip to Nashville to visit relatives last week and the relatives were nice, but the best part was going through Birmingham twice and getting to eat at two of Frank Stitt’s restaurants. I never miss a chance to stop there and it is just perfect timing for lunch.

0709-Fried-grn-tomatoesDay one was a stop at Chez Fon Fon. They do not take reservations so I always worry about getting a table. But we were successful in securing a small table by the window and close to the bar. We started with sharing fried green tomatoes and they were terrific with peas, corn, and small tomatoes added to the fried green tomatoes. (I came home to duplicate it). Recipe below.

On Tuesday Chez Fon Fon had a special of summer vegetables which included tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, peas and zucchini. My husband had this dish and I had pork paillard with grilled eggplant and zucchini and lots of garlic and it was wonderful.

Returning home on day three, we ate at Bottega and got to eat outside. Not as hot on this day and there is a big fan that keeps the air moving. We had another tomato salad which also had peas included in the salad and it was a selection of different heirloom tomatoes and tasted perfect. My favorite thing at Bottega is the white pizza which has fennel sausage and wonderful cheeses on it. We ordered a summer pizza with goat cheese and more tomatoes, and yes there was enough food to bring some home for dinner.

So take a summer day trip to Birmingham and eat at Mr. Stitt’s restaurants. Highlands Bar and Grill is my favorite but it is only open at night so did not make that one.

Recipe taken partly from Frank Stitt’s Southern Table Cookbook.

Fried green tomatoes add unexpected flavor and texture when they are served alongside yellow and red cherry tomatoes.


Fried Green Tomatoes

Serves 4 as an appetizer.

1 large egg

1 cup buttermilk

3 very firm green tomatoes, cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices

¾ cup cornmeal

¼ cup all-purpose flour

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dash of cayenne pepper

2 cups peanut oil, corn, or canola oil for frying

12 cups cherry and/or grape tomatoes of different colors and shapes, halved or quartered, depending on size

½ cup cooked field peas

½ cup fresh corn (uncooked)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons mayonnaise such as Hellman’s


Preheat the oven to 200°F.

Lightly beat the egg in a shallow bowl and stir in the buttermilk. Place the tomato slices in the buttermilk mixture, turning to coat them. In a shallow pan, combine the cornmeal and flour and season with 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, and the cayenne, stirring well.

In a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet, heat the peanut oil over high heat to 360°F.

Meanwhile, dredge one tomato slice at a time in the cornmeal, turning to coat and gently pressing into the cornmeal so it adheres. Transfer each prepared slice to a rack set over a baking sheet.

Using tongs, carefully ease the breaded tomatoes into the hot oil in batches of about four at a time so that the oil does not cool down. Cook for about 2 minutes, then turn and cook on the other side until the coating is a nice even golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the fried tomatoes to a baking sheet lined with paper towels and put them in the oven to keep warm while you fry the remaining slices.

Put two tablespoons of the mayonnaise on the bottom of the plate. Toss the peas, corn, and cherry tomatoes with the olive oil. Put this on top of the mayonnaise. Add the fried green tomatoes on top of this. Enjoy!