Love fried green tomatoes? This baked version of the classic has a crispy coating — no frying required!
A few weeks ago, I was standing in my parents backyard in Connecticut, surveying their massive tomato plants. The tall, leafy, full plants were laden with an abundance of fruit in various stages of ripening.
Here in Maine, my tomato plants never quite reached bushy status. In fact, they’ve remained pretty small. But one has produced a dozen or so little sungold tomatoes, and another has a small but lovely big boy tomato ripening.
To say my plants produced a small harvest is a huge understatement. It was tiny. Miniscule. Itty bitty. Still, for us, it was a success. My daughter Paige, 7, and I planted these plants as an experiment, along with some herbs that I’ve been plucking for cooking. We forgot tomato cages until it was too late, and never found the organic fertilizer I wanted to feed the plants with, so the plants were left to just grow however. And apparently in my small back porch container garden, that meant staying petite.
But still, the plants grew enough to flower and spawn fruit. Maybe next year we’ll work on a fuller garden, using the implements we skipped this year. But for now, this was enough.
I think about the concept of “enough” a lot — not just with regards to our garden, but with regards to our life and our choices too. What is “enough”?
If you’d asked me a few weeks ago if my kids had “enough” clothes, I would have said they had too many — more than enough. But then I cleaned their dressers and discovered that they’d outgrown a lot. After packing up and donating the outgrown clothes, we finally could see the reality of their clothes situation. They still had enough, but once we removed the items that no longer fit, the amount was greatly reduced. And that was okay. It was better even, because it no longer felt like we were living in excess.
As a mother, I often wonder if I am enough for my children. I can manage mornings, schedules and homework. My kids are clean. And I encourage them to get out and make friends. But sometimes, it feels like I spend so much time parenting that I forget about the things that actually make memories with me — their mom. The things that produce fun and laughter. It’s haunting to think that in navigating the maze of trying to raise two polite, bright, kind kids, they don’t actually make enough good memories with me.
This summer, with some help, the kids and I did a lot more together. We hiked and swam. We tried new things. We explored together. And that has made me feel closer to enough for them.
And that’s really what I want to be, to my kids, my friends and my loved ones: enough.
Our harvest was enough. For now. But I hope in the future that my garden, as in life, that our bounty grows and flourishes.
What is enough for you?
With my parents permission, I plucked some tomatoes from their generous vines before heading north to Maine. Among what I picked? A few green tomatoes to make these Baked Fried Green Tomatoes, something I’d been thinking of for awhile.
With a cornmeal coating, these tomatoes “fry” in the oven thanks to a little cooking oil spray. The result is a tender, warm tomato with a crispy coating. It’s pleasant, and tasty.
I served these Baked Fried Green Tomatoes with creamy avocado, which was a satisfying textual contrast to the meaty tomatoes, and a sprinkle of smoked sea salt. But these are also good in sandwiches, on salads or however you like to serve your fried green tomatoes.
Baked Fried Green Tomatoes
- cooking oil spray
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 large egg , beaten well
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 large green tomato , sliced into 1/4-inch slices
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with cooking oil spray.
- In a small bowl, stir together the flour, salt and pepper. In another small bowl, add the egg. In a third small bowl, add the cornmeal. The bowls should be wide enough to accommodate the tomato slices.
- Dip the tomato slices first in the flour mixture, then in the egg and finally in the cornmeal. Place in a single layer on the baking sheet and repeat until all the tomato slices have been coated. Spray with cooking oil spray.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, flipping once, until golden.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.