Fried green tomatoes are a classic southern summer recipe. This gluten free version is made with cornmeal, oat flour and buttermilk, then pan sautéed until golden and crispy in a cast iron skillet. They’re resulting gluten free fried green tomatoes are nutty, crispy on the outside, meaty and tender on the inside, and best enjoyed outdoors with a good cocktail and great friends.
You know how they (whoever “they” are) say that your taste buds change every 7 years or so? I spent years thinking that was complete nonsense. Until I tasted an avocado a few months ago and my taste buds went firing like mad and my brain went “OMG WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?!?”. And the avocado was like “Lady, I’ve been right here this whole time. You’re ridiculous.”
And I was.
Yes, it’s true friends – I so did not care for avocados until a few months ago. And then my whole world changed and I’ve been eating more avocado toast and guacamole than a person should reasonable consume, and I have NO regrets. I’ve got a lot of years to make up for bad behavior.
To be honest, I blame pregnancy on my change in taste buds. I blame growing tiny humans for all my other bodily ailments, so I might as well throw this development into that bucket too. At least this one’s a super happy change!
After my avocado eureka moment, I started trying all kinds of things I thought I didn’t like. Goat cheese still tastes like gym socks (sorry fan girls and guys), but I’m super pleased to tell you that fried green tomatoes are the shit. Seriously, SO FREAKING GOOD. Both of my grandmothers used to make these all summer long, and I’m super sad I turned my nose up at them for so long.
For the most part wheat and I still really aren’t friends, so I tried my hand at making a gluten free version and they came out perfect. They’re a little nuttier, which I personally love, super crispy on the outside, tender but firm on the inside, and best enjoyed outdoors under the heat of the sun with a crisp glass of white wine. Summer snacking perfection.
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How to Make Fried Green Tomatoes
Gluten free fried green tomatoes needn’t scare you – they’re easy to make, and even easier to eat. Most folks serve these with a cajun remoulade, but I’m a rebel and I like ’em with garlic aioli dipping sauce. That sauce also happens to be the perfect spread to smear over gluten free toast for a little fried green tomato BLT action, and I’ll be sharing that recipe later this week. Stay salivating.
Prepping Green Tomatoes
Green tomatoes are plentiful in June, and I found these lovelies at my local Mom’s Organic Market. You should be able to find them at your local farmer’s market, farm stand, co-op, or perhaps even your local grocery store. If you’re smart, you’re growing your own ‘maters and can pluck a few off the vine in the backyard.
Wash your tomatoes, then get slicin’ and dicin’. That’s a lie, there’s no dicing.
Slice the tomatoes widthwise into quarter inch slices. Or so. You can go fatter if you want. Just make them mostly even. I use a vegetable mandoline to slice my tomatoes because it’s easy, and I get the most consistency. A serrated knife works well too.
Lay the tomatoes onto a cutting board and dust them with salt. The salt will draw out some of the moisture, because science. Drying out the tomatoes just a touch will help you achieve super crispy outsides and a firm, meaty interior.
Battering and Sautéing Gluten Free Fried Green Tomatoes
While the tomatoes are getting their salt on, prepare your batter station. Grab three shallow bowls and whisk together the base coat (oat flour and arrowroot powder), wet coat (egg and buttermilk) and exterior coating (cornmeal, oat flour, baking soda, and seasonings).
While commercially available gluten free flour is a perfectly fine substitute in many situations, I didn’t reach for it here. I wanted a gluten free flour that would pair with the sweet cornmeal, and nutty oat flour was the most delicious choice.
I purchase gluten free oat flour in bulk from my local co-op. Bob’s Red Mill sells oat flour, and I know I’ve also found it at Mom’s Organic Market and Whole Foods. If you don’t want to bother buying it, you can grind your own by blending a cup of gluten free oats in your blender or food processor. Fair warning that you need to really grind it down into a fine flour for the right texture.
After you’ve prepped your station, wick away the moisture from the tomatoes using a cotton kitchen towel or paper towels, and then start the battering process.
Dip a tomato slice into the oat flour on both sides, then shake to remove the excess leaving a thin coat. Dip that guy into the egg and buttermilk mixture, and then finally dip it into the cornmeal mixture until fully coated.
Set the battered tomato slices aside onto a cutting board or baking sheet to hang out until you’ve battered them all. Giving them a little time to rest will allow the batter to set up, and will give you a crispier crust.
Heat some oil in a 10″ cast iron skillet over medium high heat. You want an even layer of oil that’s about a quarter inch deep.
Add a little sprinkle of cornmeal to test the heat of the oil. If the cornmeal gently sizzles and sautés, the oil is perfect. If it burns, the oil is too hot. If it sits there, the oil is too cool. Adjust the heat as needed, then add the battered green tomatoes, three to four at a time, and saute for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy. Leave space in-between and don’t overcrowd the pan.
You’re really just crisping up the batter and warming the tomato (not cooking it), so try to keep in the 3-ish minute range or you’ll end up with soggy interiors. Once the tomatoes are cooked, remove them to a paper towel lined plate and let them drain while you saute the rest.
Easy 5-Minute Garlic Aioli Dipping Sauce
Fried green tomatoes are delicious on their own, but who doesn’t love dipping sauce? I thought so.
I’m not really a mayo kind of lady, so garlic aioli is my to-go creamy dipping sauce. What’s that? I should try mayo again because my taste buds have changed. I did, and…no thank you. Garlic aioli remains my jam, but you be you.
This recipe is adapted from the Serious Eats method, and it’s both easy and freaking delicious. I use less garlic to not overwhelm the tomatoes, and I don’t bother with the whisking. All immersion blender, all the time.
Pour yourself a glass of wine, or crack a beer, or grab a sweet tea, find a sunny spot, and get to dippin’ and noshin’ on these gluten free fried green tomatoes.
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Fried Green Tomatoes
- Lay the tomato slices onto a large cutting board and sprinkle evenly with the salt. Let the tomatoes sit until the salt draws out some of their water, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare your batter station. Combine ½ cup oat flour and the arrowroot powder in a shallow bowl and whisk until combined. Place the remaining ½ cup oat flour, cornmeal, baking soda, pepper, paprika, and cayenne into a second shallow bowl and whisk until combined. Place the butter milk and egg into a third shallow bowl and whisk until smooth. Arrange the bowls so that the oat/arrowroot mixture is on the left, the egg/buttermilk mixture is in the center, and the cornmeal/oat/spice mixture is on the right.
- Dab the tomato slices with a cotton kitchen towel (or paper towels) to wick away the moisture, being careful not to crush the tomatoes.
- Dip a tomato slice into the oat/arrowroot mixture, then shake off the excess flour. Dip the tomato slice into the egg/buttermilk mixture, and then dip into the cornmeal/oat mixture. Set the slice aside onto a clean cutting board or plate and repeat with the remaining slices.
- Heat half the oil in a 10" cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add a tiny sprinkle of cornmeal to test the heat of the oil - if it gently sautés, the oil temperature is perfect. If it burns, it's too hot. Adjust the heat as necessary, then add the battered tomato slices to the oil. Don't overcrowd the pan. Saute 2-3 minutes per side, until golden and crispy. Remove the fried green tomato slices with a spatula and drain on a towel lined plate. Continue to fry the tomatoes in batches, adding additional oil as needed to maintain a quarter inch depth in the skillet.
- Make the aioli. Put the egg, garlic, lemon juice, and both olive oils into a glass or bowl large enough to fit the head of an immersion blender. I use a widemouth mason jar. Place the immersion blender into the jar and blend until the oil and egg are emulsified. As the aioli starts to come together, slowly lift and pull up on the head of the immersion blender so that the blade remains just above the surface of the sauce. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed, then blend again.
- Serve the fried green tomatoes with the dipping sauce. The tomatoes can be kept in the fridge for up to three days in a sealed container. Gently reheat in a cast iron skillet with a teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat. The aioli can be stored in the fridge in a lidded jar for about two weeks.
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