For many of us, fried green tomatoes equate not to the crisp, summery food from the south, but to the 1991 movie that has played on TBS more times than "Shawshank Redemption."
If you've seen "Fried Green Tomatoes" (most likely over a dozen times), then you're familiar with the involuntary trance that Jessica Tandy, who plays Idgie Threadgoode, puts you in as she recounts in her southern twang the story of two best friends living in a small Alabama town. But it's nothing compared to the effect that an actual, edible, fried green tomato can have.
Fried green tomatoes are made from un-ripe, hard green tomatoes. Don't waste your green heirloom varieties with this dish -- it's not worth it. The recipe needs firm tomatoes so that they hold their shape during frying. And when cooked, the unripe tomatoes soften to just the right consistency.
To make fried green tomatoes, tomato slices are dipped in buttermilk, dredged in flour and then fried to golden perfection. You can also dip the tomatoes in egg, dredge them in cornmeal (or a combination of flour and cornmeal). One thing that should always remain the same is to serve them with a cool, creamy dressing. But don't take my word for it, let Paula Deen show you how it's done in the south.