Fried Green Tomato BLTs

As you are reading this Taylor and I are off gallivanting in the Italian countryside, eating our way through the country. So please forgive me if I don’t respond to your comments/emails right away, since we are indeed computer-less (and smartphone-less, email-less, and twitter-less – oh the horror!) But we’ll be back soon with a full report of our trip! In the meantime, enjoy!

Fried Green Tomato BLTs, aka BLFGTs. A southern twist on the classic sandwich. I love a fresh tomato like no other, but sometimes it’s nice to switch it up a little, and substituting fried green tomatoes does just that. Topped with some super smoky bacon and spicy arugula, you have yourself one heck of a sandwich. I know many of you (who actually had success growing tomatoes this summer) may have some green ones that don’t quite have the time to ripen. That’s when a sandwich like this is ideal, as it’s a perfect way to use up what’s left on the vines before the first frost hits.

Fried green tomatoes must be an acquired skill, or maybe just something only a born and bred Southerner can master. Our nice crisp crust seemed to slide right off the slippery tomato after just one bite. I’m sure there’s a trick, I’m just not Southern enough to know what it is.

These sandwiches also feature the wonder that is Benton’s bacon. Cured locally in Tennessee, to call this a smoky bacon would be an understatement. After cooking just two measly pieces for these sandwiches, our home smelled like a campfire for nearly 3 days. But I’d much rather have a bacon-scented abode than one that smells like fish (probably one of the reasons you don’t see more seafood dishes from us – smells tend to linger here). Bacon though, bacon I can deal with.

Fried Green Tomato BLTs

Makes 4 servings. Recipe from Food & Wine.

Ingredients:

4 slices of bacon
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound unripe green tomatoes or large tomatillos, cut into 1/2-inch slices
Canola oil
8 thick-cut slices of country bread, toasted
Mayonnaise and baby arugula, for assembling

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400° and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Arrange the bacon on the foil and bake for about 15 minutes, until crispy. Drain the bacon and cut in half.

Meanwhile, put the flour, egg mixture and cornmeal in 3 shallow bowls. Season the cornmeal generously with salt and pepper. Dip the tomato slices in the flour, then in the egg and finally in the cornmeal, pressing to help it adhere. Transfer the slices to a wax paper–lined platter.

In a very large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of canola oil until shimmering. Add the tomatoes and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden and crisp, 5 minutes. Drain the tomatoes on paper towels.

Lay 4 slices of toast on a work surface and lightly spread with mayonnaise. Top with the green tomatoes, bacon and arugula. Close the sandwiches, cut in half and serve.