I think that every day for the last week I have had a tomato. Whether it be in a salad, on a sandwich or just sliced with a little salt, I have been devouring them. But there is one kind of tomato that I wasn’t able to have until last night. A tomato that I anxiously await all year: the fried green tomato. Oh the crunchiness. The tartness. The down right home cookin’ taste of it. I have dreams about them and their salty goodness. And just when I thought they couldn’t get any better, I decided to try them sandwiched between crunchy French bread and melted pepper jack cheese. Lord have mercy.
I have been in love with fried green tomatoes since I saw the movie way back when. Every year I make as many as I possibly can. I’ve had some turn out amazing and some not so great and I think the key is to pick tomatoes that are very firm. I find that the softer tomatoes don’t hold up to the frying as well and as a result the finished product can be a tad bit on the mushy side. I’ve used unripe red tomatoes and the green zebra tomatoes and both work equally as well.
Season the green tomatoes liberally with salt and pepper on both sides.
Set up an assembly line with the flour, eggs and panko. Dip a tomato into the flour, then into the egg and then press into the panko until well coated. Set aside and repeat until all tomatoes are coated.
Heat 1 inch of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Drop a couple of panko crumbs into the oil and once they sizzle the oil is hot enough. Fry the tomatoes in batches until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with kosher salt. Repeat until all tomatoes are fried.
To assemble one sandwich: butter one side of 2 slices of bread, place one slice of cheese on the bread, place two tomatoes on top followed by another slice of cheese and the other slice of bread.
Place sandwich in non-stick pan over medium heat and cook until bread is golden and cheese is melted, 2 – 3 minutes on each side. Serve immediately.