Knowing that these are one of my husband’s favorite appetizers at Cafe Miranda, being the proud owner of their cookbook, Adventures in Comfort Food, and having a big bowlful of tomatoes, the Accidental Locavore needed to take this recipe for a test drive. Luckily, this actually works better on less-than-perfect tomatoes, so go for it! Serves 2 as a large appetizer or side dish:
For the sauce:
- ½ cup mayo
- 1 tablespoon hot pepper relish
- 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Salt & pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried onion or minced fresh onion
- 2 pinches dried dill
- ½ cup cornmeal
- Salt & pepper
- ½ pound (1 large) tomato cut into 1″ slices (horizontal)
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Scallions, sliced for garnish
Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Put the cornmeal, salt & pepper in a shallow bowl. Coat tomatoes with the cornmeal mix, pressing slightly to make sure they adhere.
In a heavy 12″ frying pan (cast iron is ideal) over medium heat, heat ¼” oil until hot — don’t let it smoke. Fry the tomatoes for 5 minutes until golden brown, carefully flip and fry another 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Smear the dressing on a plate. Plate tomatoes side by side on the dressing so they stay crisp. Sprinkle with scallions, serve and enjoy!
Delicious! Not as good as being at Miranda (this photo is from there), but not bad for a first attempt. The sauce is a great version of Russian dressing with a little heat! I didn’t have any hot pepper relish, so I used slightly less than 3 tablespoons of India relish (and a little squirt of Sriracha in Kerry’s honor), the juice of half a lime and fresh dill in place of dried.
Kerry says this is a good way to use less than perfect tomatoes, so remember it for when you’re a bit discouraged by the tomatoes in the market. When I made it, it was tomato season, and we used a couple of big, beautiful beefsteaks, so they just needed about 3-4 minutes a side. The cornmeal crust was nice and crunchy, we just needed more of it, so next time I’m just going to eyeball a dish full so they get a better crust. Chives made a good garnish as there were no scallions.