My Michael Nolan
Like every Southern woman should, Aunt Ruby knew tomatoes.
The gardening wonder woman from Greeneville, Tennessee passed away in 1997 but not before leaving behind one of the best tomato legacies in the South.
The heirloom tomato bearing her name seems tailor made for my favorite Southern delicacy, with its beefsteak qualities and average size of about a pound each.
Of all the foods associated with Southern cooking, fried green tomatoes have to be at the top of the list — at least in my experience they have been. I can’t even remember the number of places I’ve traveled around the world that I have encountered people who, when they discovered my origins — asked me if I made fried green tomatoes.
Of course the answer was yes and the next thing I knew, I would be in some stranger’s kitchen elbow deep in flour and cornmeal and sharing stories of my heritage while the grease was heating in the pan.
The majority of people who attempt fried green tomatoes simply use the immature fruit of any old tomato plant, but not me. No, I have learned from the best and perfected the art, bringing it to new culinary taste heights.
When I first discovered Aunt Ruby’s German Green tomatoes, I was in heaven. See, I’ve always been a fan of produce that didn’t fit the mold — the stuff that looks deformed or the wrong color has always made my heart go pitter pat.
Aunt Ruby’s German Green tomatoes are a lovely shade of lime green when they are fully mature, with a slightly pink shade in the center and a flavor that is the perfect blend of sweetness and spice. On first taste I knew I had found the ideal tomato for my own fried green tomato recipe, and a few weeks later, it was born.
Since I have bantered on long enough for this entry, I’ll save my recipe for another day, but stay tuned — especially if you are not from the South — as this is one you don’t want to miss!