Friday, August 27, 2010

Fried Green Tomato Stack with Irish Blue Cheese and Peach & Onion Jam

As I mentioned to you all last week, we just returned from Savannah, Georgia after having a wonderful time in that beautiful Southern gem. And, whilst there, we dined at a delightful spot that served the most delectable 'Fried Green Tomatoes'. (Yummy y'all!) good in fact I just had to experiment with this in my own kitchen and write about the experience, so , here goes....

So, what is it about 'Fried Green Tomatoes' that makes them sooo good? After all, at first glance they're unripened tomatoes and cornmeal, no big deal, right? Ah, but when you consider the genius of this dish you will think again. The tomatoes, as I said, are unripened so they remain quite tart and crunchy, which works perfectly in harmony with the egg, cornmeal & buttermilk batter. The firmness of the fruit helps to hold it all together, and the result is a crunchy, tasty, tart perfection.

Now, the question to serve them?

In pondering this question I decided to introduce a little Irish Blue cheese into the recipe, and used a wonderful new product I've discovered from 'File Mile Town Creamery' in Northern Ireland called 'BallyBlue'. I tied this explosively tasty cheese with the tomatoes in a stack and sat everything on a bed of my own 'Peach & Onion Jam'. Again, the balance of flavors here work wonderfully. The savoury fried tomatoes serve as a wonderful foundation of flavor to showcase the tangy blue cheese, contrasting with the sweet/savory peach & onion jam. Wonderful as a summertime lunch, or a more traditional 'Southern style' starter (with an Irish twist!), just add some reduced balsamic syrup for that gourmet touch, and viola!

So let me invite you to give this southern belle a spin. Pick up some green tomatoes, along with the other ingredients below...and have a go!

Enjoy (y'all!)

Judith, the Irish Foodie

Fried Green Tomatoes
(serves 4)

• 4 green tomatoes
• coarse sea salt and pepper
• 1/2 cups stone ground cornmeal
• 1/2 cups all purpose flour
• 1 egg (beaten)
• ½ cup buttermilk
• vegetable oil (to fry)
• 2 Tbsp basil (chopped)
• 4 oz Ballyblue cheese

Balsamic syrup
1 cup dark balsamic vinegar

Peach and Onion Jam

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion (1 cup finely chopped)
2 Lbs peaches (2 ¼ cups peeled and diced)
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
3 Tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp sale
¼ tsp ground black pepper


1. To make peach and onion jam heat oil over medium high heat and gently fry onions for 3 minutes or until soft. Stir in peaches, brown sugar, vinegar and spices. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow cool.
2. To make the balsamic syrup place vinegar in small saucepan and gently boil until reduced by 75%. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Slice tomatoes in to generous ¼’ pieces and season with coarse sea salt and ground black pepper.
3. Beat eggs and buttermilk together with a fork. Mix flours together in a small bowl. Dip each slice of tomato in to wet mixture shaking off excess and then coat in dry flour mixture.
4. Heat oil in heavy cast iron skillet to medium-high temperature. Avoiding crowding place a few slices of tomato at a time in skillet frying for about 3 minutes on each side. Place on a warmed plate.
5. Assemble by placing a little peach and onion jam in center of plate. Stack tomatoes with a slice of blue cheese between each tomato layer ending with a little cheese on top and a teaspoon more of the peach and onion jam. Sprinkle over a little freshly chopped basil.
6. Best served immediately.

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