Un-Fried Green Tomatoes with Tomato Gravy.

At our last staff lunch, I made some healthy versions of southern classics, including the popular dish – Fried Green Tomatoes.  My healthified baked version was such a hit that I was asked to make it again, this time for our CSA customers.  And you guys were so intrigued that I promised to make it again and show you the step by step guide to delicious Un-Fried Green Tomatoes.  Here goes!

Like any good farm cook, I started out in the field…

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We have buckets and buckets of ripe and ready tomatoes all over the farm (heaven!), but for this recipe I needed the green ones.

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This internship has been such a fun experience for me.  There is truly nothing more fun than pulling your food straight out of the ground and onto your cutting board.

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With my tomatoes in tow, I headed back to the kitchen and got to work slicing…

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Because I was making samples for all the CSA members, and I knew how good the recipes was, I needed to make a LOT of tomatoes!

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Next up – the breading.  For the tomato breading, you need to use equal parts flour and corn meal.  Because I had so many tomatoes, I used 3/4 cup whole wheat flour…

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And 3/4 cup white corn meal. 

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Mixed them together with a teaspoon each of sugar, salt, and black pepper. 

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Before I got started on the breading, I preheated the oven to 400 degrees and stuck my baking sheets inside to get hot and toasty.  Hot pans are key to good, crisp tomatoes!  Since my pans were busy heating up, I laid a few paper towels out on the counter to be a temporary landing zone for breaded tomatoes.

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And then I got to work!  Here’s the point where you jump in and help me – take each green tomato slice…

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And dunk it in a small dish of milk, making sure to coat both sides.

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Then drop the tomato into your breading mixture…

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And press it down firmly to make sure you get a good coating on each side.

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Flip over and press down on each side – you want the entire tomato to be covered in the flour mixture, with as little green showing as possible,

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By the end, you will have Super Mario Brother hands.  Do not be alarmed.

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As you bread each tomato, lay them out gently on a paper towel.  Do NOT stack them!  Stacking breaded food = bad.

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Once everything is breaded, carefully take your sheet pan out of the oven and spray it generously with olive oil spray.  Then lay out the tomatoes evenly…

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And give the tops of the tomatoes another quick shot of olive oil spray.  Slide them back into the oven to bake for 40 minutes – flipping them over after 20. 

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While the tomatoes are baking, it’s time to make the sauce.  Ohhhh yes the SAUCE!  This stuff is seriously amazing.  I can eat it up by itself with nothing more than a spoon.  Start with some chopped onion, white or red.

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And toss it them into a sauté pan to brown and soften.

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Chop up a boatload of mushrooms (that’s a technical term)…

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And toss them into the onions after about 5 minutes have elapsed.

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Stir the onions and mushrooms together for a few more minutes, until both are wilted and browned.

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While you wait, chop up some tomatoes.

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And then toss them on top of your onion and mushroom mixture. 

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The tomatoes will give off a LOT of water, so the key to this sauce is to let it simmer long enough to cook out the extra liquid and let the flavors concentrate.  Let.it.cook.  Stir occasionally.

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Okay 20 minutes have passed – time to flip the tomatoes!  You should see that they are much crispier now than they were when they first entered the oven. 

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Using tongs, carefully flip each one and put your pan back in the oven to bake for an additional 20 minutes.

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Check your sauce – it should have a nice rolling simmer going.  See the bubbles? 

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Finally – after both sides of the tomatoes have had long enough to cook, they are ready to come out of the oven. 

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They should be crispy and crunchy on the out
side, and soft and sweet on the inside.  Yum.

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The sauce should be done by now too – season to taste with salt and pepper, and spoon into a serving dish.

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This sauce is aaaaaaaamazing.  I want to make vats of it and can it so that I can eat it on things all year long.  The secret to good sauce is simply letting it cook long enough. 

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These tomatoes are perfect as a meal or an appetizer, because they are so simple and easy to eat!

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Just pick it up with your fingers…

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Get a good dunk into the sauce…

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And take a bite!  Check out that gooey green middle.  Pure tomato heaven.

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This is one of those recipes that sounds really complicated, but when you actually break down the steps and look at them, it is super simple.  Bread, bake, chop, simmer.  That’s all there is to it!

Enjoy! :)