These Hasselback Fried Green Tomatoes make a delicious side dish or appetizer, and the addition of marinated mozzarella takes them over the top!
The temperatures plunged last week, signaling an end to my summer garden. While most of the herbs and flowers did okay, the tomato plants couldn’t handle the frost. Naturally, none of the fruits on the vine were anywhere near ripe. That’s fine, though, because I love fried green tomatoes!
Since I also had several red bell peppers ready to pick and was going to be in the kitchen anyway, I decided to roast a few. I’ve talked about how to roast red bell peppers for use in Homemade Pimento Cheese, which I’d initially thought about making, too. Then it dawned on me: why not put fried green tomatoes and roasted red bell peppers together?
So I’d just finished layering my finished fried green tomatoes with slivers of roasted red pepper when my son walked in and took a look at the plate. “You know, if you add a layer of white in there, it will look a bit like the flag of Italy.”
I don’t really understand how that kid’s mind works, but it comes up with some fantastic ideas at times. This was no exception. It was a very delicious suggestion.
Marinated Mozzarella is something I like to keep on hand. It’s easy to make and very versatile. I scatter cubes of it on tossed salads or slip slices into an omelet for breakfast. Topping a Margherita Pizza with it turns a delicious dish into one that’s divine. Want a quick and elegant snack? Rub half a garlic clove over baguette slices and top each with a bit of marinated mozzarella then broil for a satisfying yet straightforward crostini.
Or, do as I did, and slip it between layers of fried green tomatoes and freshly roasted red peppers for a mouth-watering side dish or appetizer that looks as good as it tastes.
Hasselback Fried Green Tomatoes
Use fresh mozzarella, the kind sealed with a bit of liquid, and not the low-moisture kind you grate. Fresh mozzarella is creamy and soft, and when marinated it quickly takes on flavors from the spices and olive oil. Using the type of mozzarella you’d slice or grate will change the character of this dish and you’ll be sad.
Start marinating the mozzarella before continuing with the recipe. This gives it plenty of time to absorb the flavors. If you have extra mozzarella when you’re finished, use it in one of the ways mentioned above. Marinated mozzarella keeps well in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Be sure to salt your Hasselback Fried Green Tomatoes as soon as you remove them from the oil. I don’t mean just passing a salt shaker over the things, either. I mean salt it — most home cooks don’t use nearly enough seasoning then wonder why their food doesn’t taste like it came from a restaurant. That’s why!
Finally, don’t try to save the leftover fried green tomatoes. They’ll never be as delicious and, really, when green tomatoes are all that’s left on the vine, it’s time to let the flavor of summer go.
Hasselback Fried Green Tomatoes with Marinated Mozzarella
For the marinated mozzarella
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella loaf-style, not balls
- 1/4 cup high-quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 large bunch mixed fresh herbs (thyme, parsley, chives, basil) roughly 1/4 cup once minced
For the roasted red bell peppers
- 2 red bell peppers roasted and skins removed (or one 6-oz jar, drained) patted dry
For the fried green tomatoes
- 4 large green tomatoes
- 1 egg beaten
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour divided
- 1 tsp Kosher salt plus more for finishing
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil
Marinate the mozzarella
- In a small cup, combine the olive oil, red pepper flakes, and minced herbs.
- Cut the mozzarella into 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) slices and arrange them on the bottom of a casserole dish. Cover with the spiced oil and set aside to marinate.
Make the fried green tomatoes
- Combine the milk and egg in a shallow bowl. Set aside.
- On a plate, combine half the flour with the cornmeal, salt, and pepper. Stir well. Pour the remaining flour onto a separate plate.
- Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) slices. Dip each slice in the plain flour then into the egg mixture and, lastly, into the flour-cornmeal mixture. Set on a baking rack to allow the coating to adhere.
- Pour oil to 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) deep in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Heat oil to 375°F / 190C° or until a pinch of flour dropped into the oil sizzles. Add tomatoes in batches, leaving room between them so they don't touch, and cook for 2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove from oil with a slotted spatula and drain on paper towels, salting heavily and immediately.
Assemble the Hasselback Fried Green Tomatoes
- Once all of the tomatoes are cooked, assemble the Hasselback Fried Green Tomatoes by alternating layers of tomato, marinated mozzarella, and roasted red pepper. Garnish with additional minced herbs if desired.
Pair with a simple roasted chicken or grilled steaks with homemade Montreal Steak Seasoning for a delicious company-worthy meal.