Panko Fried Green Tomatoes

You can ask pretty much every long time Southerner about fried green tomatoes and they won’t remember eating them growing up, but needless to say they have become a Southern staple.  Why?I believe it has more to do with Fannie Flagg’s book and the subsequent movie than any true regional origin.  You know what, that’s okay because they’re delightful when done correctly.

4 medium green tomatoes, cut in ¼-inch slices
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup cream
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 to 3 cups panko bread crumbs
¾ cup vegetable oil, plus more as needed

Lay the tomato slices on a platter and season both sides with the salt and pepper.  Beat the eggs and cream together in a small bowl and transfer to a shallow dish.

Place the flour and panko in their own separate, shallow dishes. Arrange your three-stage breading assembly line in this order: sliced tomatoes, flour, egg wash, then panko. Have a dry plate ready to hold the breaded tomatoes until you are ready to fry them.

Place the seasoned tomatoes in the flour and coat well. Dip the floured tomato slices into the egg wash and thoroughly coat on both sides, then transfer to the panko, pressing the slices into the breading to ensure a nice, even coating. Remove the slices from the panko and place on the dry plate. Bread all the tomatoes before you start frying.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, fry the tomatoes a few pieces at a time. Fry for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Carefully remove the tomatoes from the pan with tongs and drain on paper towels. As you remove the hot tomatoes from the pan, season with a little sprinkle of salt. Add more oil to the pan and repeat.

Serve with your favorite dressing or sauce: buttermilk dressing, ranch dressing, garlic aioli, etc.

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