What happens when a juicy fried green tomato takes center stage in your usual BLT? Things get zesty, that’s what! A hefty smear of creamy sriracha sauce, and this sandwich delivers complete and utter satisfaction.
This summer, our family took our first “real” vacation since the pandemic began. Our kids were ecstatic – in-flight TVs, hotel rooms, beach time, and time with family we hadn’t caught up with in far too long.
We drove around New England for 10 days, and indulged in the best seafood the coast had to offer, ice cream cones as big as your head (the kids’ exact words… they were in awe), and of course gorgeous local produce.
One night, as we sat al fresco on a glorious Maine evening, we noticed that fried green tomatoes were listed as a special on the chalkboard. I knew my mom would have to get them. She’s quite talented in making her own, and like many of us, has a soft spot for this southern specialty.
The dish didn’t disappoint. When done right, a thin and crispy coating on a fried green tomato perfectly compliments the warm and juicy inside. It’s the perfect combination of textures and flavors.
Later that night, my wheels got spinning… and they rolled right on up to this fantastic idea for a sandwich.
If you can get your hands on unripe tomatoes (NOT heirloom tomatoes which so happen to be green when ripe), they are easy enough to do at home.
The trick is to make sure your oil is hot enough to get the coating to crisp up, instead of getting soggy- but not too hot that the outside browns before the inside is cooked through. A medium-high heat, where the oil sizzles when you add in your tomato but isn’t smoking, is the optimal temperature.
Stuff these golden browned beauties into a BLT, and you’re taking them to the next level.
One of the best parts, IMHO, is frying the tomatoes in the same skillet used to cook the bacon. Extra flavor!
I also marinate the tomatoes in rice wine vinegar for a bit before dredging, then use that same vinegar to quick-pickle the onions for the sandwich. All that extra acidity is a welcome counterpoint to the bacon and fried tomatoes.
The icing on the cake is the creamy sriracha smear. This sweet & spicy yogurt-based sauce works much better than a typical mayo remoulade, delivering a light and tangy punch up to the sandwich.
Everything you want; this is comfort food with a twist!
Fried Green Tomato BLTs
- 6 slices bacon
- 1 very large green tomato, about ¾ of a pound, or two medium
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 egg
- ½ cup cornmeal
- ½ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼- ish cup sesame oil, not toasted
- ¼ small red onion, sliced
- 4 brioche hamburger buns for serving
- A few pieces of romaine or green leaf lettuce for serving
For the sriracha sauce:
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- Begin by making the sriracha sauce. Stir together the yogurt, sriracha, honey and salt until combined, then set aside.
- Place the bacon in a hot skillet (I prefer cast iron) and cook over medium heat until crispy, turning once or twice. Remove to a paper towel lined plate, and turn off the heat. Pour the excess fat from the skillet, but do not wipe clean.
- Pour the rice wine vinegar in a large shallow bowl. If you have one large tomato, cut it into four slices, ½-inch thick, and place them in the vinegar. (If using two smaller tomatoes, you will have more than four slices). Let them marinate for a few minutes, turning once. If you have enough room, you can also add the sliced red onion to the bowl. If not, wait until the tomatoes are frying then marinate the red onion in the vinegar while the tomatoes are frying.
- Place ¼ cup of the flour in a shallow bowl. Whisk the egg in a separate shallow bowl. In a third shallow bowl, combine the remaining ¼ cup flour, the cornmeal, garlic powder, and salt. Use a fork or a small whisk to ensure even distribution.
- Heat the skillet over medium high heat and pour in enough sesame oil to come up ¼-inch up the sides.
- Remove a tomato from the vinegar, then dip it in the flour, knocking off the excess. Dip the tomato in the beaten egg, then dredge it in the cornmeal mixture, coating both sides. Carefully lay the tomato into the hot oil, and repeat with the remaining tomato slices, adding them to the pan, without crowding. If you cannot fit them all at once, work in batches. After 2-3 minutes, turn the tomatoes carefully so that they don’t splatter on you, and continue to cook until golden brown on the second side. Once done, remove to a paper towel lined plate.
- To serve, lay a piece of lettuce onto the bottom half of the brioche bun. Top with a slice of fried green tomato, then lay some bacon slices, breaking them into pieces to fit. Remove the red onion from the vinegar and place some slices on the sandwich, then dollop with sriracha sauce. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 4 sandwiches, then enjoy right away.