Fried Green Tomato Pimento Cheese Tart
We may have a few more warm-ish days this year, but I’m guessing any green tomatoes still hanging on the vines at this point are going to stay that way. In case you have a few green stragglers out there, might I suggest making them into this fabulous tart? I first saw this recipe flipping through a lovely cookbook over a year ago. I swore I would make it last summer but never got around to it. This year I was bound and determined to make it happen.
I’ll admit it made me cringe just a bit, to pick them knowing these tomatoes would never ripen to their usual deep red. But all that went out the window when I finally tasted this. (I was also totally pumped to have made the pimento cheese with a red pepper from my garden. This is the first year I’ve had success with red peppers!) A flaky pastry shell is spread with a thin layer of pimento cheese and topped with the fresh fried green tomatoes. As you can imagine from the description, it is extremely rich so be sure to serve alongside a nice green salad or other light, veggie-filled side to balance it out.
Yield: about 6 servings
Dough for 1 9-inch pie crust*
For the pimento cheese:**
4 oz. cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
½ roasted red bell pepper, diced
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
½ tsp. paprika
For the tomatoes:
2 large eggs
2 tbsp. milk
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. salt
2 medium-size green tomatoes, cut into 1/3-inch thick slices
¼ cup peanut oil
Minced fresh basil, to finish
To pre-bake the crust, roll the chilled pie dough into a 12-inch circle. Line a 9-inch tart or pie plate with the dough. Trim away the excess at the edges as needed. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375˚ F and adjust an oven rack to low-middle position. Line the chilled pie shell with parchment paper or foil so that it lays over the edges of the dough. Fill with pie weights and bake until the surface of the dough no longer looks wet, 20-25 minutes. Remove the pie weights and parchment paper and return the pie crust to the oven. Bake until the crust is golden brown, 10-12 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
To make the pimento cheese, combine the cheddar, mayo, bell pepper and paprika in a food processor and blend until nearly smooth. Chill until ready to use.
To make the tomatoes, combine the eggs and milk in a bowl. Beat with a fork until well blended. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, garlic powder, paprika and salt; whisk to blend. Dip each tomato slice into the egg mixture, then into the flour mixture, coating both sides well and gently shaking off the excess. Set aside the coated tomato slices on a plate or platter. Meanwhile, heat the peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the tomato slices in a single layer and cook about 4 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Remove the cooked slices to a paper towel-lined plate or cooling rack.
Spread the pimento cheese in a thin even layer into the bottom of the cooled tart shell. Once the tomatoes have cooled slightly, add them over the top of the pimento cheese, layering evenly as needed. Sprinkle with minced fresh basil and serve.
*I used the same amount of dough for a 9-inch round pie or tart, but fit it to my 4 x 13″-ish tart pan and it was just right.
**The original recipe calls for more pimento cheese than this, but we think it’s better with less. Increase the amount to your liking.