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Monday, August 4, 2014

Layered Fried Green Tomato Parmesan

None of our tomatoes have turned red yet, but that doesn't mean that they're not ready! My husband and I experimented last year and instead of fried eggplant (I'm not really a fan), we made a layered Parmesan using fried green tomatoes. The result? Success! In fact, it was so successful that he didn't even want to plant eggplant this year. I can't really tell you my exact recipe because I don't have one, but below are the basics and you can adjust to suit your tastes. Enjoy!

Start with clean tomatoes, then slice them about 1/4" thick (or to your preference). For the 9"x7"x2.5" casserole dish that I'll be using, I used 5 tomatoes and had some left over to eat plain (not in the Parmesan).

You'll need three separate dishes for the breading process: one for water, one for an egg/milk wash, and one for the breading mixture. I use a combination of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, corn meal, and Panko breadcrumbs. I have no specific amounts that I use; I just mix it until it looks good. 

Start breading! Each tomato slice will got through the same process:
                               1. Dip in water
                               2. Dredge in breadcrumb mixture coating both sides
                               3. Dip in egg/milk mixture coating both sides
                               4. Dredge in breadcrumbs again, pressing the mixture firmly
                                   onto the tomato
                               5. Set aside on layers of paper towels until ready to fry

All breaded and ready to hit the hot oil. I use olive oil, but you can use whatever you prefer. Heat the oil until a drop of water pops when splashed into the pan.

Carefully drop the breaded tomato slices into the hot oil leaving them enough room to float around a bit.

When you see the edges start to turn golden brown, carefully flip them over until desired crispiness is achieved. Remove from oil and allow to cool/drain on layers of paper towels.

If you just want to enjoy plain old fried green tomatoes, you can quit at this step. If you want the layered Parmesan, continue on.

After the tomatoes have cooled, place them on top of a layer of pasta sauce. Arranging them is kind of like a puzzle, but you don't have to be perfect. Get the best coverage you can, and layer on.

Add another layer of sauce, and whatever cheese blend you prefer. I use mozzarella and freshly ground Parmesan. I also add a bit of Italian dressing mix for seasoning (we have our own house blend of seasonings that are salt free, but use whatever your favorite is--just be aware of the salt content and don't overuse some of the store-bought blends).

Continue layering until the casserole dish is full; I have about four layers here. Bake in a 350 degree over for about a half hour, or until the cheese is melted and golden, and the sauce can be seen bubbling up on the sides. Allow it to cool on the counter for about 15 minutes before cutting into it, and then serve it up and enjoy! Mine is in the oven right now, so I'll have to come back and post a final image after dinner.

There are several variations you could take with this, so have fun. Experiment. Play around. And, let me know if you come up with anything good! Happy eating!!

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