Your’e right, November is an odd time to be posting about a summer fry basket, but I’m trying my best to get in all my Pig Roast Sides before the New Years. Probably by March I’ll be posting about the October-November Harvest events…
Regardless, this was down right delicious. (Never met a fried vegetable I didn’t like!) I wanted a salty starter for our Tunitas Creek Kitchen Pig Roast and green tomatoes were still going strong on Potrero Nuevo Farm – so why not? We used three deep fryers to turn appetizers out for 65 people. It went smoothly until we overloaded the circuits, but nonetheless my incredible chefs re-wired and got it all figured out without too much fuss. Never a dull moment in the farm kitchen!
We taste tested different varieties of green tomatoes, including the Green Zebra – which is a ripe tomato that is green. The chefs and farmers preferred the dry farmed Early Girl’s. This is an intense small (red when ripe) tomato that is packed with minerality, high sugar, and high acidity. The big heirlooms were good too but didn’t fry quite as well because they had more water content – they were still delicious – but if one has options then go green Early Girl or Molina or use the ripe green zebra but make sure it’s not over ripe.
The zucchini sticks were tasty too. We cut medium size zucchini long, but they didn’t coat too well in the cormeal. I didn’t hear any complaints for uneven coating from our guests. Fried, is arguably the best way to eat zucchini. Of course homemade ranch dressing with any veggie is irresistible.
Gawd, what’s happened to me? I used to be so Frenchified and now I’m all country Western. Fine dining is boring – give me some fried food and ranch dressing any day of the week!
Rice bran oil is best to fry these tomatoes in. It has one of the highest smoke points of all frying oils and it is used in Japanese cuisine for tempura. Any flavorless oil with a high smoke point will do, just make sure it can take 375˚F without catching on fire or becoming toxic as some oils will at a certain heat.
I’m not making a plug for deep fryers, but after using so many restaurant professional fryers its hard to go back to rinky dink home kitchen appliances. I used Warning Pro and thought it was great for the price. It’s lightweight, big enough to hold a few hand-fulls of fries or tomatoes without the temperature dropping, it has a nice little electronic dashboard and cleans easy. It’s not fancy but who cares? It’s a deep fryer not a brushed copper KitchenAid. And for $100 compared to other more expensive brands, I think it gets the same job done.
I love Ranch dressing, it’s definitely a guilty pleasure, and we made two versions for dipping – cool ranch and hot ranch. I don’t know who invented “ranch” but I’m grateful.
Fun times on Potrero Nuevo Farm with Tunitas Creek Kitchen!
For more Pig Roast Sides:
Smoked Potato Salad with Tarragon and Hard Cooked Egg
- 1 cup All-Purpose flour
- 1 cup fine ground cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning out of fryer
- 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 medium size firm green tomatoes
- 1 cup buttermilk
- For Ranch Dressing:
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (homemade preferred)
- 1/4 cup sour cream or crème fraîche or crema
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 bunch chives, minced
- 1/4 bunch parsley, minced
- 1/4 bunch dill, minced
- 1/2 bunch tarragon leaves, minced
- 1 meyer lemon, zested and juiced (more juice if you think it needs it)
- Hot sauce of your preference for hot Ranch: sriraccha, tabasco, etc
For the Ranch dressing: whisk all the ingredients together adding hot sauce to your liking. You can also leave the kick out if you prefer. Refrigerate until ready to use.
In a deep fryer, fill with a flavorless oil that has a high smoke point. I prefer rice bran oil but often use high heat canola if I cannot find it (not all canola will take high heat FYI). Preheat the temperature to 375˚F. Alongside the fryer set up three shallow dishes. One for flour, one for buttermilk, and the third for the cornmeal mixture-spice-salt mixture
Slice the tomatoes 1/2-inch thick. Dust in flour, shaking off excess. Then dunk in buttermilk. And last coat in the cormeal-spice mixture before gently lowering into deep dryer. When cornmeal turns golden and is crispy remove onto a tray lined with paper towels and season with extra sea salt.
Make sure the fry oil is heated all the way or the crust will be soggy instead of crispy. Enjoy immediately!