I know some of my readers prefer their vegetables (and many other things) battered and fried.  So this post is dedicated to you.

It is also dedicated to Texas, which is– for all its independence– also a vast culinary intersection of the Southern U.S. and Northern Mexico.  This may well be my last post for a little while from Texas (though I plan to return on a regular basis, and will definitely blog about it).  A summer southern classic, with sweet and spicy and creamy local flavors trying to steal the show.

I will be moving to a city that is apparently a burgeoning center for haute cuisine– known for sushi, Korean BBQ, and much more.  I am excited to find out all the local specialties, and also to bring my food traditions with me to a new place (Tlacuache will no doubt be making requests for the tastes of home).  Before I packed up my new favorite saute pan called an Everyday Pan, I made you something crispy, tangy, juicy, and with the crunch of cornmeal.  Then I smothered it in strawberry habanero relish, and lime-spiked crema.  All on a bed of tender little greens.  I hardly planned it– I swear– it just came together beautifully, with what was on hand.  Local box green tomatoes, greens, and Poteet preserves.

Ok, I kind of cheated, because I had this jar of strawberry habanero preserves I got at the Poteet Strawberry festival, and I added some minced onions, a dash of vinegar, and salt to it.  But the jam itself was really just berries and habaneros, sugar, and pectin.  So you could totally do this with plain preserves, by adding a small amount of habaneros (I don’t think you need much), or whatever bright and hot chile you want to use.  Or, better yet, you could order your jam from Uncertain Farms and be just like me!

The crema is store bought, in the section where the Mexican cheeses are sold, or sometimes near the produce.  It is very similar to creme fraiche, but less expensive.  You could totally make your own.

The greens were micro radish greens (but only because they came in the local box and looked too pretty to put in a boring salad), but you can use any greens you like– beet greens or arugula would be great.  I highly recommend eating your fried vegetables with some greens for texture and contrast of flavors.  These tomatoes are so easy to make, even though deep frying can be messy.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Strawberry Habanero Relish and Lime Crema

adapted from Southern Living, with special thanks to Uncertain Farms.

Fried Green Tomatoes

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3 medium-size green tomatoes, cut into 1/3-inch slices

Vegetable oil like canola

Salt to taste

Relish

1/2 cup strawberry habanero preserves (or just strawberry preserves plus minced fresh habanero)

1/2 onion, minced

1 tsp vinegar

salt to taste

Lime Crema

1/2 cup crema

1/2 tsp lime zest

1 tsp lime juice

dash of salt

Prepare your relish first.  Saute onions until soft on medium heat. Turn down to low and add vinegar and preserves.  Stir with a whisk until well combined and warmed.  Salt to taste, set aside.  Mix crema with lime juice and zest, chill until ready to serve.

Slice tomatoes.  Place half of flour in a shallow bowl or plate.  Combine egg and buttermilk in another shallow bowl, set aside.  Combine remaining flour, cornmeal, salt, and pepper in yet another shallow bowl.  Heat enough canola oil to 1/2-1 inch depth in a large frying pan on medium high heat until 375 degrees, or until it sizzles and pops when you drop some batter in.  Monitor your heat so that it stays hot enough after you add tomatoes, as this will cool the oil some.  You dont want them smoking, just sizzling and turning golden brown.

Dredge tomato slices in flour, then submerge in egg mixture, and finally coat in cornmeal mixture. Make about 6 of these at a time and then put them in the oil all at the same time.  Use tongs or a spatula to flip, cooking about 2 minutes on each side.  Cool on a wire rack with a baking sheet underneath to catch drippings.  When you finish all your batches, serve these right away on a bed of greens, with relish to dip, and drizzled with crema.

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