Fried Green Tomato and Goat Cheese Napoleon with Creamy Grits, Roasted Red Pepper and Shallot Purée, Basil Oil, and Fried Basil Leaves.

FGT with grits
A smash at the box office? No. Did Fannie Flagg lead you to believe fried green tomatoes are a southern dish? Quite possibly. In 1991 Fannie Flagg’s novel, Fried Green tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, was adapted for film and hit the silver screen as Fried Green Tomatoes. Let’s rewind. 100 years or so before Jessica Tandy perked up Kathy Bates, fried green tomatoes were popping up in Jewish cookbooks from the Midwest. Fast forward to the late 1940s, we watched fried green tomatoes hit their heyday. Their time in the spotlight was short lived, though. Between the late 40s and the early 90s, things were a bit hazy. They became wishy-washy and went unnoticed. They were thrust into the spotlight in the early 90s with the release of Fried Green Tomatoes, and have earned their keep on southern and eclectic restaurant menus since then.

Thinking back, I remember how my mom loved fried green tomatoes. Things weren’t always that way for her. During her childhood, they were a common occurrence on the dinner table. By the hands of my maw (her grandma) and mamaw (her mom), many batches were made. Batches she declined time and time again. With the release of the movie in the early 90s, mom cast her doubt and consulted the matriarchs. In an effort to fancify, and eschew cornmeal coated dinners of her past, she used flour. Thus, my memories of her at the stove frying up batches of green tomatoes were born. As I am my mother’s child, her fried green tomatoes were something I made sure to hide in the far reaching depths of my napkin. Not because they weren’t good, but because I learn from the best. Like her, I grew to appreciate simplicity, the ground and seasonality, and the fried green tomato.

I cook, he cooks, and we cook together. A lot of cooking goes on in this house. From cocktails to crackers for lunch, we do it all right here in our three bedroom cabin. When the fried green tomato weakness sets in, Warren scoures the pantry for cornmeal. Yes, cornmeal. Like a boomerang back to maw, I ask for cornmeal coated. I guess some things do skip a generation…or two. A buttermilk or egg wash, or a combination of the two, are classic methods. While both are fine, we use water and find no grave consequences.

Continuing with dishes synonymous of the south, we pair these fried green tomato and goat cheese napoleons with stone ground grits. Yellow, white, or polenta grits? The choice is yours, but we use yellow for this dish. Go with polenta for a more toothsome texture. A pureé of roasted red pepper and shallot adds a lively punch. Basil oil and fried basil leaves add a simple, yet refined finish.

Print Recipe
Fried Green Tomato Napoleon with Creamy Grits, Roasted Red Pepper and Shallot Purée, Basil Oil, and Fried Basil Leaves
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 35 Minutes
Cook Time 4 Minutes
Servings
People
Ingredients
Fried Green Tomato and Goat Cheese Napoleon with Creamy Grits, Roasted Red Pepper and Shallot Purée, Basil Oil, and Fried Basil Leaves
Grits
Roasted Red Pepper and Shallot Purée
Basil Oil
Fried Basil Leaves
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 35 Minutes
Cook Time 4 Minutes
Servings
People
Ingredients
Fried Green Tomato and Goat Cheese Napoleon with Creamy Grits, Roasted Red Pepper and Shallot Purée, Basil Oil, and Fried Basil Leaves
Grits
Roasted Red Pepper and Shallot Purée
Basil Oil
Fried Basil Leaves
Instructions
Fried Green Tomato and Goat Cheese Napoleon with Creamy Grits, Roasted Red Pepper and Shallot Purée, Basil Oil, and Fried Basil Leaves
  1. Cut each tomato into 4 equal slices, discarding ends. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, add softened goat cheese, basil, and ½ tsp kosher salt. Process until well combined. In a shallow bowl, combine fine cornmeal, ½ tbs kosher salt, pepper, and stir to combine. Pour water into a separate shallow bowl.
  3. Evenly spread a thin layer of goat cheese mixture onto 4 slices of green tomato, topping each with another slice of green tomato to make a napoleon.
  4. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat, about 4 on an electric range. Working quickly but carefully, dip napoleons in water, then cornmeal mixture, and set aside. Once all sandwiches are evenly coated, place in pan fitted with a lid. Cook 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer tomatoes to a paper towel and allow to drain while plating grits and pepper purée.
  5. Ladle half-cup of cooked grits into a bowl. Using a spoon or squirt bottle, add a thin layer of red pepper puree to center of grits. Top with one fried green tomato and goat cheese napoleon, and approximately one tablespoon of basil oil. Garnish with two fried basil leaves. Serve immediately.
Grits
  1. In a large pot, place stock, milk, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once the mixture comes to a boil, gradually whisk in the grits. Once combined, reduce heat to low and cover. Whisking every 4 minutes, cook over low heat for 28 to 30 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and add butter, salt, and pepper, and stir until all butter is melted.
Roasted Red Pepper and Shallot Purée
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Lay garlic bulb on its side. Using a sharp knife, cut off ¼ inch of the top. Place garlic in the center of a piece of aluminium foil, measuring approximately 12 x 12 inches. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and wrap foil around garlic, adding additional foil if needed to cover any exposed garlic.
  2. In a 9x13 inch pan, place whole red pepper and peeled shallot. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil, rubbing each to coat evenly. Add foiled garlic to pan. Place pan in preheated oven. Beginning to check each for doneness around the 45 minute mark, bake for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. The red pepper should be charred and collapsed, the shallot should be soft, and the garlic should be soft with a slightly browned skin.
  3. Once desired doneness is achieved, carefully transfer pepper to a sealed container and allow to steam for easy skin removal. Remove garlic and shallot from pan to cool.
  4. Once cooled and steamed for approximately 15 minutes, use your fingers to remove top of pepper and skin. Slice vertically and use the back of a knife to get rid of any remaining seeds.
  5. Using you fingers, squeeze roasted garlic cloves directly into food processor. To processor, add shallot, seeded and skinned pepper, salt, black pepper, paprika, and vegetable stock. Puree to a smooth consistency, approximately 2 minutes.
Basil Oil
  1. In a blender or food processor, add basil and olive oil. Purée, leaving some pieces of basil visible.
Fried Basil Leaves
  1. Heat oil in a small pan over medium-low heat. Working in batches, fry basil until leaves are dark green and crispy, approximately 3 minutes per side. Place on a paper towel to drain.
Recipe Notes

Roasted red pepper purée and basil oil can be prepared up to two days in advance, covered and refrigerated, and brought to room temperature while preparing grits and tomatoes.
fgt

Share this Recipe

One thought on “Fried Green Tomato and Goat Cheese Napoleon with Creamy Grits, Roasted Red Pepper and Shallot Purée, Basil Oil, and Fried Basil Leaves.”

  1. I have enjoyed your fried green tomatos with goat cheese on several occasions, but never this delightful and scrumptious looking dish. Hopefully in the future I can either be caught up in the love of your recipe at my house, or preferably at yours. Thanks for taking me back to my childhood days. All the fried green tomatos love to you .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *