If you’ve ever wondered how to fry green tomatoes, this easy fried green tomato salad is the simple summer recipe for you!
Fried green tomatoes are a Southern summer staple. This recipe pairs them with a bright, spicy watercress salad, fresh herbs, and Cotija cheese.
How to Make this Easy Fried Green Tomato Salad:
This recipe, though easy, requires a bit of prep because you will need a dredging station for the tomatoes.
To make this recipe, start with your vinaigrette and end with frying tomatoes. Preparing in this order means everything will be ready to be plated as soon as the tomatoes cool for a minute or two.
The vinaigrette is so easy and so spicy! If you are sensitive to heat, use jalapeño or a touch of crushed red pepper. I used a habanero and I removed half of the seeds and that was plenty spicy for me!
How to make the vinaigrette:
First, throw your hot pepper and juice of 1 grapefruit in a food processor and pulse until the pepper is completely minced. I prefer to mince the pepper with the juice, so I don’t have to scrape little pepper pieces out of the processor.
Add the juice to a bowl and add Dijon and maple syrup. Adjust the maple syrup according to the heat of your pepper. My pepper was quite hot, so I used a bit of extra maple syrup. Next, slowly whisk in extra virgin olive oil until emulsified. Set it aside as you prepare the tomatoes.
For the tomatoes, first, slice the tomatoes into ½-inch rounds. Season them with salt and allow them to sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
Next, prepare your dredging station. Gather 3 shallow bowls. Put flour, chili powder, salt, and pepper in the first bowl. Put 3 eggs and 1 cup heavy cream in the next bowl. Lastly, combine cornmeal, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper in the third bowl. If you can find fine-ground cornmeal, use that. If not, medium-ground works nicely too. That’s what I used!
Dredge the tomatoes–flour, egg, then cornmeal–and then fry the tomatoes in batches until golden brown. Transfer them to a wire rack and allow them to cool for a minute or two.
While the tomatoes fry, combine watercress, fresh herbs, and shaved zucchini in a bowl. I used golden zucchini! Drizzle with a touch of oil.
To serve the salad:
Simply divide the salad between plates and place a tomato or two on each plate. Garnish with Cotija cheese and that’s it!
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Easy Fried Green Tomato Salad
- Wide pot, for frying
- Wire rack
- Paper towels
- Vegetable peeler
Fried green tomatoes:
- 3 large green tomatoes trimmed and sliced into ½-inch rounds
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream or buttermilk
- ½ cup breadcrumbs plus more as needed
- ½ cup cornmeal plus more as needed
- Neutral oil for frying
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 habanero trimmed and deseeded if desired
- 1 grapefruit juiced
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 –2 tablespoons maple syrup plus more as needed
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 5 ounces watercress
- 2 golden zucchini trimmed and shaved into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
- ¼ fresh mint leaves loosely packed
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves loosely packed
- ¼ cup fresh Cotija cheese crumbled
- Salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the green tomatoes:
- Arrange the tomatoes on a wire rack and season all over with salt. Let them sit for 15 minutes before patting dry thoroughly.
Prepare the vinaigrette:
- Combine the habanero and the grapefruit juice in a food processor and pulse until the habanero is finely chopped.
- Transfer the juice to a bowl. Add the Dijon and maple syrup and whisk until incorporated. Taste and add more maple syrup if your pepper is quite spicy.
- Whisking continuously, slowly add the extra virgin olive oil. Continue whisking until completely emulsified. Taste and season to your preferences. Set aside. Whisk before serving.
Dredge the tomatoes:
- Prepare your dredging station. Gather three shallow bowls. Combine the flour, chili powder, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper in one bowl. Whisk together the eggs and heavy cream in a second bowl. Combine the breadcrumbs, cornmeal, and a sprinkle of salt in the third bowl.
- Heat 1 inch of oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Pat the tomatoes dry once more. Place a tomato in the flour and shake off any excess. Next, coat it in the cream mixture. Finally, coat it with cornmeal.
- Transfer to the dredged tomatoes to the hot oil. Fry for 2-4 minutes per side until golden-brown and crispy. Continue frying the tomatoes in batches. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and to allow any excess oil to drip off.
Prepare the salad:
- Combine the watercress and shaved zucchini in a bowl. Toss with 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
- Divide the watercress salad between plates and place two tomatoes on top. Garnish with Cotija cheese. Enjoy!