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Pennsylvania Dutch Fried Green Tomatoes

Serves 4

The popularity of fried green tomatoes is not limited to the south, as many would lead you to believe. The fact is that farmers everywhere need to find ways to use the last of the tomato crop, especially in areas where the tomatoes have to be picked green to protect them from the first frost. The Pennsylvania Dutch make green tomato relish with some. Others are wrapped individually in newspaper and stored in a cool basement or root cellar to slowly ripen for later use. They also use many in preparations such as green tomato pie or for frying. The only difference I can determine between the two versions of fried tomatoes is that the Pa Dutch use flour as a coating rather than the flour and cornmeal mixture used by most southerners, as in the similar and related recipes. Some southern recipes also call for deep frying rather than pan frying. The PA Dutch fry tomatoes in bacon grease or lard and, in later years, oil or butter.


Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge the tomato slices in the flour to coat both sides; shake off excess. Place in hot pan and brown quickly until slightly softened but not mushy, about 2 minutes per side, adjusting heat as needed. Add more oil as needed between batches. Place briefly on paper towels to remove excess oil, then on a large platter in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Notes: Many people use tomatoes that are full grown but still very green. I prefer to use tomatoes that have started to change color, very light green with hints of pink, because they are a little less tart. A ripe tomato cannot be used in this preparation as it will soften too quickly and turn very mushy and juicy when fried.