Friday, May 20, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes and Homemade Pita Chips

Sometimes a sweet and simple meal is just right for a relaxing day. At the store today I spotted some green tomatoes and realized how long it has been since I'd eaten one...and more importantly how few times in my life I have eaten them altogether. You see, although I've lived in the south all my life, my family is yankee through and through. I grew up on corn meal mush and cream of wheat instead of grits; johnny cake instead of cornbread; and certainly no fried green tomatoes. To make matters worse, I spent my childhood in Marietta, where cultural food experiences are lacking almost as much as Southern accents. It wasn't until college and a few trips to Albany, Georgia that I discovered the magic of good grits and the brilliance in fried everything (on occasion). I'm still learning, but here's what I considered a great fried green tomato. And in honor of Southern cooks everywhere, I used Duke's Mayonnaise for my dip.

Panko-Fried Green Tomatoes with Dill, Horseradish and Mayonnaise Dip

1 large green tomato
1 egg, lightly whipped
Panko for coating
Vegetable oil, for frying

1/4 cup Duke's Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. horseradish
1/2-1 tsp. fresh dill, minced
pepper to taste

1. Remove the core and thinly slice a green tomato. Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a small frying pan on medium.
2. Stir together the mayo, horseradish, dill and pepper. Taste and adjust if necessary. 
3. Dip each slice in egg, then coat with panko on both sides. Place in hot oil, about 2 minutes on each side, or until brown and long enough to cook the tomato to sweetness.

See, wasn't that easy? And delicious! But if you're like me, you can never settle for just making one thing. I saw some whole grain pita bread in the "Oops we over baked" section and decided to make pita chips as my aunt did last weekend. Although they take a bit more time then purchasing and opening a bag of store bought pita chips, I guarantee these are worth the time. They are more flavorful, you have the creativity to invent your own flavors, and they are crisp but not rock hard like the ones at the store. I opted for Parmesan, rosemary and salt pita chips.

Baked Parmesan and Rosemary Whole Grain Pita Chips

1 bag of whole grain pita bread
Roughly 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
Dried rosemary
Kosher salt and pepper
Olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 325.
2. Slice off the outer edge of each pita such that you can separate the two halves then cut each into 5-6 triangles.
3. Brush olive oil on both sides of each triangle. Sprinkle cheese and a small pinch of salt, pepper and rosemary onto each chip.
4. If possible, arrange on a wire rack to allow optimal air circulation and crispiness. If not, baking straight on a baking sheet should be fine. Bake for roughly 12 minutes. Enjoy plain, with your favorite dip or even the extra dip from the fried green tomatoes!

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