I made another trip to the farmers’ market on Wednesday in search of some inspiration for my next blog post. This has become a regular thing for me, and I’m really loving. I enjoy the unexpected aspect of shopping at the market; I never know what’s going to be there, and I choose what I’m going to buy solely on what catches my eye.
What caught my eye this trip was something I have never used before – green tomatoes! There was a small basket of them sitting next to a huge crate of regular tomatoes, and they seriously called to me. I think I have only eaten green tomatoes once before – on a hamburger. Masked by the flavors of the beef, gooey cheese, and fried egg (yes, I went there) it was nearly impossible to taste the green tomato, so I was totally unprepared when I popped a raw slice of one of these suckers in my mouth – it was SO GOOD. When you first taste it, it has the classic flavors of a regular tomato, but then you are hit with a really pleasant and subtle sour tang. They are seriously so good.
I chose to make a variation of fried green tomatoes by baking them rather then frying them (my attempt at being health conscious), and topping them with a little crumble of blue cheese and some excellent basil vinaigrette. Halfway through cooking these, I was a little apprehensive at how they would taste – I just wasn’t sure how everything would come together. I was SO pleasantly surprised though when I bit into these little treats…they were amazing! Don’t skip any of the elements cause they all went really well together – plus, blue cheese on anything will only enhance the flavor by 167%. These would be excellent appetizers, or even a small lunch – really any way you eat them, I promise you will enjoy them!
Baked Green Tomatoes with Basil Vinaigrette and Blue Cheese
Serves 4 (assuming 1/2 tomato is one serving)
- 2 large green tomatoes, cut into slices
- 1/2 cup cornmeal (use the finest grind you can find – I used medium, and it was a little too crunchy)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (this is optional, but as you know, I am on a red pepper kick right now)
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg, beaten, combined with 1/2 cup milk
- blue cheese crumbles
- Basil Vinaigrette
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Take your tomato slices and dip them first in the egg mixture, and then in the flour mixture, covering completely. Transfer to a greased baking sheet. Repeat with all the tomato slices.
When you have used all the tomato slices, pop the baking sheet in the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes, flipping the tomatoes halfway through. At the very end of baking, sprinkle a little blue cheese on the tomatoes.
While the tomatoes are baking, make the vinaigrette by blending the basil, olive oil, and balsamic in a food processor. So simple, so delicious.
When the tomatoes are done, serve them up on a plate with a little drizzle of basil vinaigrette. These are addicting!