green tomatoes

Since the day Michael Ruhlman announced his BLT challenge, I’ve had that classic sandwich combo on the brain, and while last night’s version was certainly not our entry into the contest, it was a way to get our BLT mojo flowing.

A really good tomato is, for me, the most important component of a BLT, and since we’re still a couple of months off from from prime tomato season here in New England, I decided to work with what we do have around now: tart green tomatoes.

While my bacon cooked on a rack in the oven (my favorite way to keep the slices flat and stackable), I sliced up my tomatoes and gave them a dunk in some beaten egg seasoned with salt and a dash or three of hot sauce. The egg-coated slices then got a coating of cornmeal before going into a hot pan to fry until golden.

When the last batch of tomatoes had been fried and the bacon was ready, I started layering: a lightly toasted slice of sourdough, a layer of bright green basil mayo (you can make your own mayo, of course, but I didn’t and the world didn’t end), then some bacon, peppery arugula (my leaf of choice for BLTs), some of the fried green tomatoes, and another mayo-spread slice of bread on top.

Dinner:  June 23, 2009

The “soup” I made to accompany our sandwiches was… not so good. (Even after thinning it with a bit of water and readjusting the seasoning, it was more like paste than something potable. Your mileage may vary.) But the marriage of BLT and fried green tomatoes was such a happy one, we barely missed our soupy side dish.

21 thoughts on “BLTwist

  1. ooh, it’s double-crispy — bacon AND fried green tomatoes. So you don’t have to toast the bread and rip up your mouth. Love it!

    We made bacon last weekend, so we’re 1/4 of the way there on Ruhlman’s challenge. Now our lettuce just has to keep on producing while the tomatoes ripen! :D

  2. I have never eaten a fried green tomato.
    However…. this sandwich has changed my mind. It’s time. Time for me to open up to the world of frying a slice of cornmeal-coated tomato. My bikini body will not thank you, but the rest of me (and my southern boyfriend) no doubt will. :)

  3. sara says:

    this looks AMAZING! i love everything you cook, but how do you get away with eating like this all the time? i wish i could . seriously, i am curious – do you just pare down for other meals?

  4. You are NOT allowed to distract me in the middle of cooking dinner! Now I am BLT obsessed, too.

    I wonder if I can fit a very small pig on my terrace, too root amongst the mint, fennels and gravel. Then again, Estorbo’s on the plump side…is there a rule against cat bacon in Ruhlman’s competition?

    Fried green tomatoes. Hm hm hm.

  5. BLT’s are such brain worms — think about them once and then you have to have one. Now I just have to work up the guts to fry some tomatoes.

    I’m glad the world didn’t end when you used non-homemade mayonnaise, otherwise none of us would be able to eat on a weeknight.

  6. Sara,

    We don’t eat like this “all the time.” Don’t forget: this is Last Night’s Dinner. You don’t see the granola we eat for breakfast or the salads or light sandwiches we have at lunch.

    Also, please don’t take this one meal out of context, either. Don’t forget Jen’s other posts from this week: the meatless pozole, the steamed mussels, the black rice, or the tuna and bean salad. All of those are much lighter than the FGT-BLTs are. There’s plenty of evidence on this blog that we eat good, healthy food and that relatively little of it is fried.

    Sorry. This isn’t the first time someone’s come along, looked at one or two posts, and said, “How can you eat this way?!” without considering the full context of the blog, and how Jen approaches meal planning. Yes, we allow ourselves indulgences. Why not? You know what else you’re not seeing on this site? Ice cream, pies, cakes, or other rich desserts. We very seldom eat those. So I think our diet allows us a little bacon and fried tomatoes.

  7. Jennifer Hess says:

    maggie – Thanks!

    elizabeth – It makes me sad to think of all the green tomatoes from my parents’ garden I *didn’t* eat growing up!

    Anita – Your bacon-making photos were positively drool-worthy. Can’t wait to see your finished product!

    laurie – Oh, that sounds fabulous.

    Keri – Thank you!

    dawn – Thanks!

    Johanna – Do try them, they are really a treat, and not at all greasy like you might expect. :)

    sara – While this dish may appear to be on the heavy side, it really wasn’t so bad. The tomatoes weren’t at all greasy, and I used a fairly light hand with the bacon, too (2 strips per sandwich). And, as my husband pointed out, we do balance out richer meals like this one with lighter breakfasts of things like yogurt and granola or whole grain toast, and plenty of veggies throughout the day. We’re no health nuts but I think we do a pretty good job of eating a variety of foods and practicing moderation.

    Marie – Sorry! (Cat bacon?? I can’t wait to see how many hits I get for that search term! :D)

    Elizabeth – Fry away! It’s totally worth the result!

    Rachel – Thanks!

    Mary – My love for the cuisine makes me wonder if in another life I was a Southern Belle…

    Samantha – Too true!

  8. Daisy says:

    Another inspiring post! Will have to be on the look for green tomatoes at my produce/farmer’s markets this weekend. Thanks again for sharing your meals – I can’t say how great ideas I’ve gleaned from your blog.

  9. Sara says:

    I certainly didn’t mean to suggest that you were unhealthy! I was genuinely curious about how you balance the dinners out with other meals. I find most everything you post on this site seems super delicious, and often contains butter, cheese, etc. All things I love to eat but have been told to cut back on. But I suppose you are right that if the rest of the day’s eating is balanced then this sort of thing isn’t a big deal. Again, didn’t mean to offend.

  10. Jennifer Hess says:

    Daisy – thank you!

    Sara – No offense taken!!! I think what it boils down to for us is that when we eliminated most processed foods from our regular diet, we found we could eat real butter and other natural fats, real cheese, etc., and still be healthy. It flies in the face of a lot of what doctors and other “experts” have been telling people to eat in this country for years, but we’ve found we’re a lot healthier these days. It works for us. :)

  11. I love your twist on the BLT with the fried green tomatoes, how awesome. I had a fried green tomato “caprese” once in Kansas City that I thought worked excellently.

    We’re playing with the idea of entering the BLT challenge – I have tomatoes just beginning to ripen, but I need to get ahold of some pork belly. Need to start asking around.

  12. wes says:

    I think that your “soup” would have made a terrific spread on your BLT instead of the mayo, but the sandwich sounds terrific!

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