Nope, we’re not reviewing a movie with Mary Louise Parker – we’re frying up some tomatoes!
This blog is no stranger to Southern-style dinners, and especially with the current heat wave reminding me of summers in NC, I’ve been inspired to do more Southern-style dishes as of late. Despite my time in NC, though, I’d never had fried green tomatoes until last year. I’m always a little wary of cooked tomatoes, because cooked red tomatoes don’t always agree with my stomach. But I finally tried a fried green tomato, and now I’m hooked. Fortunately my local farmer’s market just started selling green tomatoes again, meaning my habit can be prepared easily at home!
I found this recipe for vegan fried green tomatoes online. I may love fried green tomatoes, but I don’t want to make them with eggs! Fortunately I found a recipe which uses a flax egg as opposed to Ener-G egg replacer – nothing against Ener-G, it’s just that I have a bag of flax meal at home already, and I didn’t want to have to run to the store to make these. I began by slicing one green tomato from top to bottom in half-inch slices. This is very easy to do, as green tomatoes (simply a tomato that hasn’t ripened or turned red) are very firm and sturdy, and won’t spill everywhere like their red counterparts often do!
I sprinkled each slice with some salt and pepper on each side, then prepared my dredging plates. I created an assembly line of bowls chronologically lined up, starting with almond milk and continuing to all-purpose flour, my flax egg, and corn meal, with the corn meal being closest to the oven/skillet. Before I started dredging, I heated some olive oil in a skillet so that it would be hot and ready by the time my first tomato slice was. Then, it was as simple as taking a tomato slice, dredging in milk-flour-flax-corn meal, then throwing it on the skillet!
I cooked each slice for about 2-3 minutes on each side, so that they got nice and crispy. I then transferred each slice to a plate with a paper towel, and sprinkled each slice with a bit more salt and pepper while they were still hot. I made my fried green tomatoes last, but they can safely sit for a bit while you fry up the whole tomato, as well as while you serve up the quiche and green beans; since they are of course very hot right off the skillet!
As good as fried green tomatoes are, they alone do not make a meal. I decided to serve them with a vegan quiche as the main course. I love quiche, and I have been cooking with this recipe for a spinach and broccoli quiche for a few years now. It’s a simple recipe and will impress vegans and non-vegans alike!
To start, I sauteed some spring onions, garlic, broccoli, and swiss chard in a skillet for a few minutes. I used swiss chard because I didn’t have any spinach on hand. I used a small crown of broccoli florets, as well as six medium swiss chard leaves, stems removed. This may seem too large an amount when you’re tearing the leaves and adding them to the skillet, but trust me, they reduce quickly and vastly!
The rest of the quiche is really easy to make, especially if you’re using a pre-made pie crust. In a food processor I combined half a block of extra firm tofu, half a block of firm silken tofu, almond milk, yellow mustard, Indian black salt, nutmeg, and an even blend of paprika and cayenne for the ground red pepper in the recipe. For those wondering, Indian black salt is a specialty salt that adds an egg-y flavor to dishes thanks to a natural sulphurous flavor. You can usually find it in specialty spice shops (I got my bag from the Tea and Spice Exchange). However, regular salt will do just fine if you don’t have Indian black salt (or don’t want to spring for it). I then poured the mixture into a bowl and folded in the vegetable saute; then added the mixture to the pie crust. The recipe calls for vegan parmesan as an option; and instructs you to blend it with the tofu. I used nutritional yeast instead, and sprinkled it over-top the tofu mixture once it was in the crust. I then baked the quiche for 35 minutes on 400 F, leaving the quiche on warm as I fried the green tomatoes.
I wanted a simple side veggie to complement the heavy fried green tomatoes, so I simply simmered some green beans for about 10 minutes in water and salt. You can use canned or frozen if you like; but I chopped up some fresh beans and they were delicious, and a nice, quick addition to the meal. Once the cooked beans were on the plate, I seasoned them with cracked black pepper.
This meal is perfect for a warm summer night, and the quiche feeds a lot of folks; so unless you’re serving this at a dinner party, you’ll have a lot of leftovers! The quiche and the fried green tomatoes fill you up without making you feel bloated; and many of the ingredients can be purchased locally right now, as they are in season (I bought the green tomatoes, green beans, swiss chard, spring onions, garlic, and broccoli all at the farmer’s market). Enjoy!