THE INN CROWD: It’s a hit: fried green tomatoes

Editor’s note: The next episode of “The Inn Crowd with Chef Budi Kazali,” featuring a demo of Fried Green Tomatoes, Arugula Salad and Remoulade with guest chef Fannie Flagg, best-selling author, begins a weeklong run on the News-Press TV Food Channel at on Sunday.

One guess what dish author Fannie Flagg would make as part of her guest chef duties on “The Inn Crowd with Chef Budi Kazali.”

You’ve got it: fried green tomatoes! A staple in the South, the dish originated in the Depression when families were forced to stretch their food dollars, often needing to find alternatives to expensive meats, said Ms. Flagg, whose novel “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” went on to become a hit movie.

Dense and meaty, the green tomatoes are filling, but Chef Kazali lightens the breading up using crunchy and airy Japanese panko breadcrumbs. Served with the tangy remoulade, this is a great dish for a Southern-inspired luncheon or casual dinner.

3 green tomatoes, sliced half-inch thick
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons Cajun Seasoning (see recipe)
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup canola oil
Salt, to taste
Arugula Salad (see recipe)
Remoulade (see recipe)

You will need three shallow bowls to batter the tomatoes. In the first, combine flour and 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning. In the second, whisk buttermilk and the eggs together. In the third, combine breadcrumbs and remaining tablespoon Cajun seasoning. Heat canola oil in heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Coat tomato slices in flour mixture, shaking off excess before placing into buttermilk and eggs. Finally, coat with breadcrumbs and place in pan. Shallow fry the tomatoes slowly, allowing them to cook through. Turn slices so they become golden brown on both sides. Remove from heat and season with salt. Place fried green tomatoes over salad, drizzle with remoulade and serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Source: chef Budi Kazali, owner of The Ballard Inn & Restaurant in Ballard
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients, mixing well.

1/2 lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups arugula
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil over arugula, tossing to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon pickles, chopped
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon anchovies, chopped
1 teaspoon capers, chopped

Combine all ingredients, stirring well.

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