Yesterday evening I happened to find myself in possession of a couple of large green tomatoes -- never you mind just how -- along with a nice sweet red pepper and a jalapeno.
This meant only one thing: fried green tomatoes for dinner!
Unfortunately, our corner store didn't have any cornmeal -- not a bit. But they did have a nice-looking organic corn muffin mix; it was better than nothing. It's got cornmeal, flour, plus baking soda and a dash of sugar.
Got home, washed and sliced the vegetables, mixed up a little egg/milk batter, and poured out some of the muffin mix into a bowl. It looked about right, especially after I ground some pepper over it.
Got out one of the good old skillets, Mom's Revere Ware* with nice tall sides, and got 1/4" of olive oil with a little butter nice and hot.
The muffin mix doesn't stick really well -- I had to kind of work it into the tomato slices. But it stuck well enough, and first batch was sizzling away pretty quickly. I had to ask Tam to fetch me a plate with some paper towel on it to drain them, but after that the production line went smoothly, tomatoes, sweet peppers, Jalapenos. Tam came back into the kitchen, remarked on the smoke, and had me start a couple of dill pickles though the process while she opened a window and set up a fan (the range hood is a recirculating type, not very useful).
By and by it was all cooked, other than left-over muffin mix, egg/milk batter and skillet of by now very dark oil; so I mixed the first two and poured it into the pan of hot oil, which produced a kind of terrifying corn fritter that we, of course, sampled (better than you'd think) and simplified clean-up.
How do the tomatoes taste? Darned good! I wouldn't use muffin mix if I didn't have to, but it does well enough. The peppers were good, too; the process calmed the Jalapeno down sufficiently that I had a couple of rings and the sweet pepper was delightful.
P.S.: I had a little more of the corn fritter later (still good), and broke it open to look at the texture: light and fluffy! Then as I proceeded to put things away, I took a closer look at the label on the bag of corn muffin mix: gluten free! That's why it didn't stick so well. But for taste and texture, at least when pan-fried, Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free mix is indistinguishable from regular cornbread, which is saying quite a lot.
* I ended up with most of her Revere Ware; the oldest pieces date back to 1949 when she married Dad. She loved it and he kept adding to it through the years, most recently in the 1980s, and it's all the good copper-bottomed stuff. Not as easy to clean up as non-stick but it's wonderful to cook with.
6 months ago