My new fall motto is when the garden leaves you with hundreds of green cherry tomatoes at the end of the season, make them into something wonderful: Mini Baked “Fried” Green Tomatoes with Remoulade Sauce. Somewhere around the end of June last year, Clay and I were at the Vancouver Farmer’s Market and I was looking for one more tomato (I’d already planted three) and preferably an heirloom variety. We found a plant that was looking a bit beat up, but it was an heirloom cherry tomato and I decided I’d chance it and see how it would do. It was a champion grower, rapidly taking over the space vacated by the cucumber plant the dog pulled up, smothering the lemon thyme that was on the cucumber plant pot and then tangling itself up with the chard in the pot on the other side. It developed hundreds (no exaggeration here) of cherry tomatoes and then it felt like the tomato decided to just be done. The green tomatoes just sat there…and sat there…and sat there, staying quite green for months. Toward the end of August, the tomato sort of woke up and a few of those green tomatoes turned a lovely bronzy shade of red. By that time, I had been assaulted by the hundreds and hundreds of cherry tomatoes from the Sweet 100 vine and I was kind of over tomatoes. We harvested a few more though and dutifully ate them on salads and on sandwiches.
Meanwhile, there were still many, many green cherry tomatoes on that vine. I’d look at them and say “soon – I’ll get to you soon.” September was a busy month and started the glut of winter squash. October came and I cleaned out all the other tomato plants, but left the behemoth plant where it was. Finally, yesterday, at the very end of October, I got around to harvesting both a few ripe cherry tomatoes from that plant and a whole bowl-full of green cherry tomatoes. There are still more out there, but I think I’ve given up. (I type that and then start fantasizing about all the other things I could do with green tomatoes, so maybe I’ll harvest the rest this weekend after all.)
From late August on, I’d been creating a recipe in my mind – mini baked “fried” green tomatoes. My resolve to try this out was strengthened by my trips to the South this year – I had some really amazing fried green tomatoes in both New Orleans and Atlanta. I’d originally had in mind that I would make these baked “fried” green tomatoes to go on a salad, so the remoulade was conceived more as a salad dressing than as a dipping sauce. However, while I did create the salad, I also decided to use my leftover tomatoes for a po boy, and the remoulade was thick enough to use for the sandwich. I could also just as easily sit and eat these as a snack and dip them in the remoulade and not feel guilty about it, as the remoulade has a base of Greek yogurt rather than mayonnaise.
On the left: mini baked “fried” green tomatoes on a salad (which was lunch on Monday)
On the right: mini baked “fried” green tomatoes on a Po Boy
If your garden is over for the season and you don’t have any late hanger-on green tomatoes, pin this recipe for next year. It’s worth it.
Mini Baked “Fried” Green Tomatoes with Remoulade Sauce
Serves 4 – 8 (depending on use)
Baked “Fried” Green Tomatoes
20 green cherry tomatoes, sliced into thirds
½ cup flour
¾ cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon Siracha or hot sauce
½ teaspoon salt
Black pepper, freshly ground to taste
Olive oil to grease baking sheet
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Siracha or hot sauce (or to taste)
For the baked “fried” tomatoes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil.
Sprinkle the salt and a bit of freshly ground pepper over the cut tomatoes. Put the flour, eggs and bread crumbs in three separate shallow dishes. Add Siracha or hot sauce to the eggs and beat them until they are fluffy. Dredge tomato slices in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. Do this with all the tomato slices (these are so small, I found it easier to do this to five or six tomato slices at a time). Place the coated tomato slices on the baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake for 20 minutes, flipping the tomatoes about half-way through the baking time.
For the Remoulade
Combine all ingredients for the remoulade in a jar. Close tightly and shake vigorously (or use a whisk and stir until all ingredients are combined).