This Baked Not Fried Green Tomatoes recipe is a healthier, crisper version of the food that has become an iconic Southern dish. But, is it really Southern in origin?
It appears, in the case of Fried Green Tomatoes, that the dish wasn’t originated in the South at all. Appearing in publications (not from the South) dating back to the 18th century, Fried Green Tomatoes only became an iconic Southern dish after the release of the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes, based on the book by Fannie Flagg, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café.
A recipe from a 1902 published in Philadelphia called for just rolling the tomatoes in flour and frying them in butter, sprinkling them with powdered sugar and serving them with fish. Powdered sugar? No. Thank you.
So, of course, the South has put its mark on Fried Green Tomatoes; adding corn meal and buttermilk and spicing them up. And while we love foods fried in vats of fat here in the South, this version is baked, not fried. That change reduces calories by two-thirds and lowers fat by seven grams. Per slice.
Inspired by a recipe that appeared in Southern Living in 2009, I have slightly modified their recipe and have served the Oven-Fried Green Tomatoes with a Garlic Dill Pickle Rémoulade. I told Mr. Saucy to think of the rémoulade as a fancy name for tartar sauce. He was all in, then.
The tomatoes are dusted in a combination of flour and corn meal, dipped in buttermilk and rolled in Creole seasoned Panko crumbs. It’s the Panko that really helps to give the tomatoes a super-crispy, just-like-fried (or maybe *gasp* better) coating. But all the flavor of Southern fried versions is there.
Two other things that really help to recreate the texture of a truly fried green tomato are: 1. The tomatoes are salted and allowed to sit, then patted dry with paper towel. These steps draw out excess moisture, which helps them stay firm and crispy inside. Then, 2: When baked, the tomatoes are suspended on a rack above the baking sheet. The hot air circulating around the tomatoes as they bake crisps both sides, but also keeps them from becoming soggy.
I hope you’ll try them!
Also, if you’re interested in some truly Favorite Southern Recipes, check out FaveSouthernRecipes’ website in the link above. It’s loaded with Southern food inspiration.
- 3 large firm and very green tomatoes, cut in ¼ inch slices
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons yellow corn meal
- 1½ cups buttermilk
- 2 cups Panko crumbs
- 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
- Vegetable cooking spray
- Special equipment:
- Wire baking rack
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set a wire baking rack over the top.
- Sprinkle salt over both sides of the sliced tomatoes, place them on the baking rack and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
- Remove the tomatoes to doubled sheets of paper towel and pat dry, then sprinkle with pepper on both sides.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Assemble three shallow bowls.
- Place the flour and corn meal in one shallow bowl and stir to combine.
- Place the buttermilk in one shallow bowl.
- Place the Panko crumbs and Creole seasoning in one shallow bowl and stir to combine.
- One at a time, dredge the tomato slices first in the flour, then dip in the buttermilk, then dredge in the Panko crumbs. Lightly spray each side with cooking spray and set on the wire baking rack until all slices are coated.
- Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake for 12 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and turn each tomato before returning to the oven for another 12 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy (I turned my oven on broil for the last 3 minutes of the second side).
- Remove from the oven and serve hot.
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ⅓ cup minced garlic dill pickle (I used Claussen)
- 2 teaspoons of the pickle brine
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill leaves
- Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine.