You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato

A number of rare or newly experienced foods have been claimed to be aphrodisiacs. At one time this quality was even ascribed to the tomato. Reflect on that when you are next preparing the family salad.
- Jane Grigson

My husband can eat a tomato like an apple. My grandmother slices ripe tomatoes, sprinkles them with salt and pepper, and enjoys them as a meal. My grandfather’s preference is sliced tomato on white bread with mayonnaise. When my dad makes his famous chili, he loads it with fresh tomato. I am seemingly the only person in my family that does not like tomatoes. When it comes to sandwiches and burgers, hold the tomato. Pasta? No marinara for me.

Alternately, fried green tomatoes fall into the category of foods I could eat on a daily basis. I slice them thinly for burgers, thick for BLT’s, core them and eat them like onion rings. They are tangy yet sweet, with a burst of juice that plays off of the crunchy texture of the breading with ease.

BLTs are a staple in our house. They are my go-to meal when I haven’t been to the store, or when I get caught up in my day and realize I haven’t even thought about dinner by the time we’re both starving. I’ve added elements to the basic recipe, and this version is a combination of multiple flavors. Salty bacon gets a sweet and spicy kick from brown sugar and pepper, and mayonnaise is spiked with zesty horseradish.

Fried Green Tomato BLT with Brown Sugar-Peppered Bacon and Horseradish Mayo

3-4 Green Tomatoes, depending on size (3 medium, 4 small)
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
4 eggs
Vegetable oil for frying
1 lb thick cut bacon
3 tsp McCormick’s Seasoned Pepper Blend
3 tsp Splenda Brown Sugar
1/3 cup prepared Horseradish
1/3 cup mayonnaise
12 slices honey wheat bread
3 cups shredded lettuce

For Brown Sugar-Peppered Bacon:
- Combine brown sugar and seasoned pepper blend, press into both sides of each bacon slice and set aside

- Heat skillet over medium heat; add bacon in batches and cook until crisp, about 10-12 minutes per batch, turning often
- Remove from skillet and place on paper towels to drain

For Fried Green Tomatoes:
- Slice tomatoes into ¼ inch thick slices
- Place flour into a shallow dish
- Combine cornmeal, salt, pepper, garlic powder, place in shallow dish
- Beat eggs and pour into shallow dish

- Heat skillet over medium heat; add enough oil to coat skillet
- In an assembly line format, dredge tomato slices first through flour, then egg, then cornmeal mixture, coating thoroughly
- Place tomato slices into skillet in batches and cook until golden brown on both sides, approximately 10-12 minutes per batch, turning every 3 minutes or so
- Remove from skillet and place on paper towels to drain

For Horseradish Mayo:
- Combine prepared horseradish and mayonnaise in ramekin, cover and refrigerate

* Makes 4-6 sandwiches

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