Fried Green Tomatoes with Buttermilk Green Goddess Dressing

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I’ve shared recipes for fried green tomatoes before, but each time I’ve tried to gussy them up by adding herbs or layering them with other ingredients. I like those dishes, of course, but the fact is there is something wonderful about making fried green tomatoes the way my mother and grandmother made them- that is, simply, stripped of nonessentials,  the warm tartness of green tomatoes, tempered by a hint of sugar, and the toasted crunch of cornmeal crust shine through in perfect balance. 

 Serves 6 to 8

½ cup well-shaken buttermilk

1 large egg

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup yellow cornmeal

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

Canola oil, for frying

4 large green tomatoes, cored and sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds

½ cup Buttermilk Green Goddess Dressing

Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a brown paper bag.

Place the buttermilk and egg in a shallow bowl and whisk to combine. Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and pepper in a separate shallow bowl and stir to mix.

Pour canola oil into a large skillet to just barely cover the bottom and place over medium-high heat until sizzling hot.

One at a time, dip the tomato slices first in the buttermilk mixture and then in the flour mixture to coat both sides, shaking off any excess. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding the skillet, carefully place 4 to 6 tomato slices in the hot oil and fry until the other sides are golden brown, about 2 minutes. (Wait until the slices get nice and crispy before flipping them over only once; if you flip them any more, the coating will fall off.)

Use tongs or a slotted spatula to transfer the fried tomatoes to the prepared baking sheet to drain. Place in the oven to keep warm and repeat the process with the remaining tomato slices.

Season with additional salt and pepper and serve warm with the dressing drizzled over the top or on the side.