Right on the heels of my mom’s trip to the south this summer, Christi and her family hit the same locale. I love when people travel because you see all of their cool pics and hear about the fun stuff they are doing at every turn. One of my best friends is currently driving cross-country with her family and I am dying to hear about their adventures and see pics of the world’s biggest ball of yarn, among other national treasures.
One thing I learned from my mom and Christi’s trip to the south is that food is heavily involved in the landscape. My mom kept sending me pictures of fried green tomatoes saying how every preparation was different from the last. I know the food was delicious or she [my mom] would never indulge in those “god-forbidden” carbs. My sweet mom brought me some local gifts as souvenirs and among them was this Fried Green T’Mada mixture. I wanted to make something unique with the fried green tomatoes so here it is – a Fried Green Tomato Stack or a “deconstructed BLT.” I used pancetta because I love the flavor but you can use regular bacon as well. I have to say, I ate the entire stack that you see above and it was tasteeeeee!
1/4 pound pancetta, sliced into spirals
4 to 5 firm green tomatoes (these came from my local farmstand)
fried green tomato mixture (I used “Fried Green T’Madas” from Gullah Gourmet, Charleston, SC)
-2 cups yellow cornmeal
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp freshly ground pepper
-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (increase amount for a spicier mixture)
fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly into half circles
2 Tb olive oil
2 Tb balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and lay down pancetta spirals, making sure they don’t touch. Cook pancetta in oven for six minutes or so. Flip pancetta and cook for an additional two minutes (be sure to keep an eye on the pancetta because the spirals can burn quickly. You will hear sizzling as the pancetta spirals crisp up). Once finished, remove Pancetta spirals to a wire rack and let cool.
In the meantime, wash, core and slice green tomatoes to about 1/4” thickness. Cover the bottom of a deep skillet with vegetable oil and heat on medium high to high (be very careful of hot oil as it can easily splatter). Dip green tomato slices in water and drag through fried green tomato cornmeal mixture. Carefully place tomato slices into hot oil and fry for two to three minutes per side or until crisp and golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to let tomato slices cool and crisp up.
Place a small amount of arugula on a plate and assemble fried green tomato stacks by layering in the following order on top of arugula: tomato, pancetta, mozzarella, tomato, pancetta, mozzarella, avocado slice, basil leaf.
Whisk together 2 Tb of olive oil and 2 Tb of balsamic vinegar and lightly drizzle over the top of the fried green tomato stack to your liking.
Serve with a toasted baguette slice.