August is peak travel season for many people in the northern hemisphere. In Europe, cities become ghost towns as people head for coasts, lakes or mountains. If you’re like me, you wish the vacations could last longer (maybe forever) and you look for a little something to bring back with you to keep the memory alive. In my case, that’s usually a recipe for some great food I had while away. That’s the genesis of this week’s recipe for Fried Greed Tomato BLTs (or more appropriate BLFGT!) by food and travel blogger Tori Haschka. Tori recreated this after a great time in Miami, and has written a cookbook based on the food from her travels around the world, called A Suitcase and a Spatula. I’m thrilled to have such an iconic southern recipe on the column, and am dying to turn this into a messy sandwich! What’s the best food you’ve had on vacation? -Kristina
Tori Haschka is a young Sydney-born food and travel writer. She has her own blog called eatori for which she was a finalist for Saveur Magazine’s Best Culinary Travel Blog 2012, and came second in Quadrille’s 2012 Food Awards Best Blog. She also writes for The Huffington Post, Mamamia and The Arbuturian. This is her first book. You can follow her on Twitter at @ToriHaschka
See Tori’s take on the BLT after the jump!
Fried Green Tomato BLTs
- 4 green, or just-ripe tomatoes
- 3/4 cup of self raising flour
- 1/4 cup of polenta/cornmeal
- 3/4 cup of Greek yoghurt
- 1/4 cup of milk
- 1 1/2 cups of rustic breadcrumbs
- 1 head of frisee lettuce
- 4 strips of smoked bacon, crisped and cut into batons
- 4 tbsp of mayonnaise
- 1-2 tsp Tabasco sauce, to taste
- 40 grams of feta, crumbled
- 2 spring onions, finely diced
- 1/2- 1 cup of vegetable or peanut oil for shallow frying
- Set up three bowls: one for breadcrumbs, the yoghurt and the milk, and the flour and the cornmeal.
- Slice your tomatoes horizontally into slices which are approximately 1/2 inch thick, discarding the very, top, bottom and stem. Season with a little salt and set aside for a few minutes. This will help draw extra liquid out of them.
- While the tomatoes sit, wash and dry the frisee, fry your bacon, and make the Tabasco mayonnaise. Set aside the feta and spring onions.
- Drain the tomatoes of any extra liquid and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Keeping one hand clean, place a tomato slice in the milk/yoghurt mix. Transfer to the flour/cornmeal. Then transfer back into the milk/yoghurt and dredge in the breadcrumbs. You may find it easier to use a fork to facilitate this. Set the battered tomatoes aside on a dry plate.
- When you have battered them all, heat your oil in a high sided pan until it makes a bread crumb sizzle. Fry the tomato slice until each side is crisp and golden.
- Drain the fried tomatoes on paper towel before transferring to a low oven to keep warm while you repeat the process with the remaining slices.
- To make the salad combine the frisee with the crisped bacon, chopped spring onions and crumbled feta. Top with fried green tomato slices. Drizzle the sunset pink dressing over the tomatoes and salad and serve straight away.
- This can either be plated individually, or on a long platter for sharing.
This dish takes me straight to Miami beach; that’s a town that knows how to celebrate summer properly. The first time I ate a version of it was at Yardbird- seven blocks back from the beach- and the perfect place to fritter away an afternoon with a pitcher of sweet tea (bourbon optional). If, like me, you’re not in Miami and impatiently waiting for the full glory of summer’s tomato bounty, this is a good way to put any lackluster specimens to good use. It’s everything you love about a BLT, without the boring bulk of bread. There’s the salt of bacon, warmth of Tabasco boosted mayonnaise and gentle freshness of frisee. I like to add a little crumbled feta for salt and some spring onions for a light peppery kick. It’s smart enough to be plated individually as a starter, but to me, the best way to serve it is as one long platter that’s passed around a table, with some grilled chicken legs and corn on the cob on the side.