I love tomatoes. Just can’t get enough of them. And, growing up in the southeast, loving fried green tomatoes was a childhood requirement. This recipe makes great fried green tomatoes, and since I now live in Tucson, I’ve given my recipe a southwestern flair. The recipe as it is isn’t very spicy at all; add more of the hot stuff if you’re brave!

Some diabetic perks to this recipe are: few carbs, good cholesterol from the olive oil, and hot pepper… I read in Science News recently that hot pepper, specifically cayenne*, can somewhat increase insulin sensitivity, though according to the article the jury’s out on how much.

Southwestern Fried Green Tomatoes

Tomatoes, 5. They don’t have to be green (I actually like yellow the best), but they do have to be hard! Get the hardest, most awfully unripe tomatoes you can find!
1 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup yellow corn meal
1 teaspoon garlic powder (salt-free)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon (or more) ground chipotle or cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt
olive oil
salsa, guacamole, sour cream (optional toppings)

In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork.
Put the milk in a separate bowl.
Slice the tomatoes about 1/3 of an inch thick. Only keep the pretty, center slices; pitch the tops and bottoms.
Cover the bottom of a NON-STICK pan thinly with olive oil. Heat it on medium until hot, but not smoking.
Dip your tomato slices into the milk, then flop them in the dry ingredient mixture. Pat the mixture around them till well covered.
Place them in the pan, and fry. Resist the temptation to flip them until you see the edges begin to curl slightly up… waiting helps keep the breading on the tomatoes, instead of loose in the pan.
When fried to a lovely golden brown color on both sides, remove from the oil to a paper towel. Repeat!

This recipe is great because the breading gets really crispy, which is hard to achieve on vegetables without a deep-frier. And save the leftovers for breakfast in the morning! Serve with any of your favorite southwestern condiments!

Recipe Thursday 8/31/06

* Cayenne pepper is often associated with frightening bogus claims to “cure” diabetes, or treat it naturally, etc. The article in Science News (a very nice, respectable science publication) only says it possibly helps a bit with increasing insulin sensitivity.