Homemade Tomato Appetizers
Photo by Carli Wentworth
One of The Best Things About Eating Out is Getting an Incredible Meal Without Having to Fuss in the Kitchen. For most diners, that is enough. Here is my curse … if I’m eating something that blows my mind, I’m stricken with trying to figure out how they created the dish. It’s like a food super mission. I must use all that I have to replicate this dish. Sometimes it’s simple to do, but then there are those times where I spend weeks, months or even years trying to figure out a dish.
Last summer, I spent a week in Miami, where every night was filled with incredible international flavors. One dish that left me wowed was a simple fried green tomato stack. I craved this again after trying it once. In fact, we went back three more times that week. Each time, I took at least 30 minutes to catalog the flavors I detected and make notes on how the crust looked and tasted. I took pictures from every possible angle. It got weird. But I knew that this one recipe would be perfect to bring home with me to the Midwest. After a couple of tests in the kitchen, I mastered this incredible Miami appetizer.
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Fried Green Tomato Southern Stack
3 green tomatoes, sliced
2 c buttermilk
2 c cornmeal
1 c self-rising flour
1 t sea salt
½ t freshly cracked pepper
2 c canola or corn oil
1 c pepper jack cheese, grated
2 c cheddar cheese, grated
¾ c mayonnaise
½ sweet yellow onion, grated (keep juice)
1 jar pimentos, chopped and drained
2 T Wickles pickle relish
4 T Suan’s Scotch Bonnet Onion Preserves
4 slices ½” thick cut applewood smoked bacon, cooked crisp Arugula
• Place sliced tomatoes on a wire rack that is sitting over a sheet pan for drainage. Sprinkle with salt and allow the tomatoes to sit for 30 minutes to drain excess moisture. Heat oil in a cast iron pan to medium high heat. Remove the tomatoes from the rack and place into a shallow pan filled with buttermilk. In a shallow pie pan, combine the cornmeal, self-rising flour, salt and pepper. Using tongs, remove the tomato slices from buttermilk and dredge in flour mixture and then repeat, dipping in buttermilk and dredging for a second time. Place the tomato slices in the hot oil and cook until browned on each side. Remove from hot oil and drain on a paper towel.
• While the tomatoes drain, prepare the pimento cheese. In a medium-sized bowl, combine both cheeses, mayonnaise, grated onion, pimentos, Wickles pickle relish and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use. It will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.
• To create the stack, make a bed of arugula on an appetizer plate. Stack one fried green tomato on top of the arugula. Place a large dollop of pimento cheese on top of the tomato, add a slice of bacon and then place a spoonful of Suan’s Onion Preserves on top of the bacon. I even drizzle a little bit of the onion jam juices over the top of the stack. Serve!