Let's make a sandwich fancy enough to be dinner, but chill enough to go with store-bought potato chips and living-room dining, shall we?
We are making fried green tomatoes, which are possibly one of the most delightful things that will come out of your fryer this summer. They have the perfect balance of acidy to salt, fresh to crispy. There are a lot of bad fried green tomatoes in the world, but we can revive their wonder one slice at time. Now, let's fry.
First things first (one day I'll be able to say that without thinking of Iggy), your kitchen music. If you have not yet discovered the nostalgic brilliance of the Disney Hits Spotify station, get on that.
Also, please slice your tomatoes thiiiiiick. We will not stand for any soggy tomatoes around here.
Panko is the only way to go. Quite frankly, I am not sure why anyone would consider any other form of breading. That crunch - gotta get it.
Lastly, get that oil HOT! We are shooting for 350 degrees F. While I have seen some adopt the panfrying technique, I just feel that it lends to an oil-saturated tomato and a somewhat soggy outer crust. Ideally, they should only fry for about a minute, if you go much longer the tomato will lose its lovely freshness.
Now, if you can bear to save a few of these oh-so-snackble tomatoes, they make a pretty fine addition to a sandwich.
Homemade pimento cheese, roughly chopped bacon, and a gorgeously crisp slice of summer, smashed between your favorite bread and grilled until golden brown.
If you are feeling an extra smear of mayonnaise, that is definitely acceptable.
Grab your chips, ruffled or crisp, and I would not be mad if you wanted to pull out some dill pickles and go full deli style.
Can we call this the ultimate summer sandwich?
Yes, I think we can.
Fried Green Tomato, Bacon & Pimento Cheese Grilled Sandwich
Cook's Note: This recipe will make far more pimento cheese than you need, but it will last up to a week in the refrigerator and it makes a great spread for crackers or crostini. Be sure to make this component first.
for the pimento cheese
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 ounces monterey jack, freshly grated
- 10 ounces sharp cheddar, freshly grated
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire
- 1 4-ounce jar pimentos, drained
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- crostini or crackers for serving
Place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl, and use an electric mixer to beat on medium speed until fluffy; about 1 minute. Mix in grated cheeses, mayonnaise, worcestershire, pimentos, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, and pepper. Beat on low speed until all ingredients are well combined.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use; up to one week.
for the fried green tomatoes
- 1 large green tomato*
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- fine sea salt
- 4-6 cups vegetable oil
Cook's Note: While there is no sense in looking for a "ripe" unripe tomato, aim for tightly skinned, firm specimens with an even green color - no yellow.
Prepare two baking sheets, layering one with paper towels and topping with a cooling rack and lining the second with parchment. Select three small bowls. In the first bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper. In the second bowl, whisk to combine eggs and milk. Combine the panko, garlic powder, and onion powder in the third bowl. Fill a deep-fryer or cast iron skillet with about 2-inches of oil and begin heating.
Use a sharp knife to slice the tomato into 1/4-inch slices. Dip each slice into the prepared flour mixture, then coat with the egg mixture, finally dipping each side into the seasoned panko. Lay the finished slices out onto the parchment-lined baking sheet until all the tomatoes have been prepped.
Once your oil has reached 350 degrees F, fry the tomatoes. Work in batches of one or two at a time, frying for 30-seconds on each side; until deep golden. Transfer the slices to the prepared cooling station and sprinkle with fine sea salt. Allow the tomatoes to cool slightly while you prepare the other components.
- 8 slices sandwich bread
- 4 tablespoons softened butter
- 8 slices cooked bacon, roughly crumbled
- pimento cheese
- fried green tomatoes
Spread a thin layer of butter over one side of each slice of bread. Layer the bread with pimento cheese, bacon, and fried tomatoes and top with the second slice of bread.
Place each sandwich, butter-side down, into a nonstick frying pan set over medium heat. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side; until the bread is deep golden and the cheese is bubbling.
Serve immediately alongside chips and maybe a pickle or two. Enjoy!