Readers have probably detected that the best cooking in these quarters comes not from The Slow Cook but from his trusty sidekick.
So it is with this ingenious twist on the classic BLT sandwich, substituting fried green tomatoes. My wife drew her inspiration from a similar item on the menu at one of our neighborhood restaurants here in the District of Columbia, the St.-Ex.
My wife is a passionate baker but also has the magic touch when it comes to frying. Her crab cakes, described here recently, fit the very definition of sublime. She takes her time, is very methodical and has a steady hand around the fry pan, precisely what is required to achieve those golden crusts and done-to-a-turn insides.
These particular green tomatoes came from our garden where we have two heirloom varieties growing: Brandywine and Cherokee purple. They fried up big and meaty, no falling apart or leaking. Check your nearest farmers market if you don't have tomato plants of your own. Or maybe you have a generous neighbor.
Last year we planted our tomatoes late and had a bumper crop of greens when the first frosts hit. We turned most of them into green tomato pickles. But more about those anon.
For specific instructions on frying green tomatoes, my wife turned to the 'net. She rejected a recipe that called for soaking the green tomato slices first in a bowl of ice water for 30 minutes (I can only imagine that was to keep the tomatoes from overcooking while they were in the fry pan.) Then she landed on these instructions courtesy of Southern Living magazine.
Cut fairly thick slices of tomato, dredge them in flour, then in an egg wash mixed with buttermilk, then in a mix of flour, cornmeal and seasonings. Fry until golden in 1/2-inch of canola oil in a heavy iron skillet. Set the fried tomatoes on a wire rack to cool.
For the sandwich, we used slices from a rustic loaf we'd previously purchased at Whole Foods. Smear one slice with mayo and then lay on a couple of pieces of cooked bacon and some basil leaves. On the other slice, my wife spread some chili mayo that she'd made using a chili mixture we received over the winter in our subscription box from farmer friend Brett Grohsgal (Brett makes a number of different preserves and condiments for his CSA). Then she added the fried tomatoes and pressed the two halves together.
Originally my wife made these tomatoes for a cocktail buffet she was catering with my sister. These were the leftovers. They made a damn good lunch reheated.