Monday, November 26, 2012

Fried Green Tomatoes with Tangy Dipping Sauce

Hello, my dear ninjas!  Before I get rolling on the holiday recipe posts, I thought I would throw this one on the blog for you all.  It's really more of a summer recipe, but believe it or not, since the frost was so delayed here, we actually had some un-ripe tomatoes still hanging around on the vines in our gardens until last week.  Since it's nearly December, and these babies are clearly never going to ripen, I decided to try my hand at fried green tomatoes to keep from wasting them.  The results were delicious!

If you don't have any green tomatoes laying around, this recipe would also work on other veggies like mushrooms, sliced zucchini, green beans, cauliflower, etc.  Get creative and see what you can fry up!  This is a great way to use up veggies that are still edible, but slightly past their prime.  Use veggies that are "medium softness" like the ones listed above.  Harder veggies (potatoes, winter squash) won't cook quickly enough while frying, and very soft veggies (like ripe tomatoes) with a lot of water content will probably just fall apart.  These are great with the creamy, tangy sauce I whipped up to go with them.  There are quite a few ingredients in the sauce - I came up with it by basically chucking a bunch of condiments and spices into my food processor - but it's super-duper easy, so don't be afraid!  The dipping sauce can also be made by itself.  It's great as an all-purpose dip for veggies or smeared on a sandwich or veggie burger.  Mike and I were dipping raw mushrooms in it and it was delicious!  The recipe for the sauce follows the main recipe.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Tangy Dipping Sauce


4 large, green tomatoes, sliced into 1/4" thick slices
canola oil for frying
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3/4 cup flour
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
3/4 cup tofu, pureed
6 Tablespoons non-dairy milk
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Lay out your tomato slices in a single layer on a large plate or tray.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Place the flour and garlic powder in a shallow bowl and mix well with a fork.  Puree the tofu with the non-dairy milk in a blender or food processor and place the mixture in another bowl.  Mix the panko, paprika, and cayenne in a third bowl.
Heat about 1/4" of oil in a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Dip each tomato slice in the flour mixture, then the tofu mixture, then the breadcrumb mixture.  Place each slice in the hot oil.  Fry in batches so you don't overcrowd the pan.  Fry each slice for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve warm with Tangy Dipping Sauce.

Tips and Tricks:

1. Make sure each slice is well-coated with each mixture; you don't want any tomato-y parts peeking through.  

2. Watch your tomatoes carefully once they are in the oil.  Once everything is hot, they tend to cook rather quickly and can burn easily.  Your tomatoes can also burn once the pan starts to run low on oil.  Add more oil if it looks like things are getting a little dry.  You want to the oil to cover the whole bottom of the pan.

3. To keep your mixtures from clumping up while you coat your tomato slices, designate a "wet" hand and a "dry" hand.  Use the "dry" hand to coat the tomatoes in the flour and the breadcrumb mixtures, and your "wet" hand to coat the slices in the tofu mixture.  Your hands will still get messy, but you won't end up with clumpy flour and breadcrumbs.

4.  Serve these immediately or as soon as possible.  They will get soggy rather quickly once they cool.

Tangy Dipping Sauce


3/4 cup firm tofu
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 Tablespoons tahini 
2 Tablespoons canola oil
2 Tablespoons BBQ sauce
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
a few dashes hot pepper sauce (optional)

Combine the non-dairy milk in a measuring cup or small bowl with the vinegar and allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes to curdle.  Put the milk mixture with all remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  That's it!

That's all for now, and it is quite possibly the last non-holiday recipe I will be posting for a while, because I'm going to try to give you lots of yummy things to make as Christmas (or whatever it is you celebrate) approaches.  Roasted green beans with orange balsamic sauce on deck, and I'm working out some cookie recipes, vegan gingerbread swirl cheesecake, fennel braised tempeh, cornbread and brussels sprouts stuffing, as well as a sweet cinnamon version of my sweet potato rolls recipe.  See you soon!


The Fur Ninja <3 br="br">

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