Pull those green tomato stragglers off their vines (at this point, they’re probably not going to have time to ripen anyway) and let’s turn them into fried green tomato pie!
Any of you lucky ducks with your own garden can have green tomatoes any time you like, but if you’re getting them from the store or farmer’s market then you basically need to wait until the tail end of tomato season (aka RIGHT NOW THIS SECOND).
Look, I get it, the farmers don’t want to be picking all of their unripe tomatoes at the peak of the season. That would deprive us of a whole lot of summertime tomato glory. However, I’ve been trying to make this recipe since the middle of August and was only able to find green tomatoes in the past two weeks!
Was it worth the wait? Ohhhhhhhhhhhh yes.
This savory slab pie is EVERYTHING.
A buttery sweet/salty Ritz cracker press-in crust topped with pimento cheese AND fried green tomatoes AND more pimento cheese.
So much to love there.
We’re starting with a Ritz cracker crust that couldn’t be easier. You start by blitzing the crackers in a food processor and then mixing a stick of butter into them by hand. This ensures that all of the cracker pieces get evenly coated but also that the crust still has some texture.
The cracker dough gets pressed into a pie pan and then par-baked. It will still seem pretty loose and crumbly when it comes out of the oven but will set more as it cools, so don’t be alarmed.
Once cooled, the crust is topped with a layer of pimento cheese. I used a storebought pimento but if you have a classic recipe that you love then feel free to go for it.
Finally come the fried green tomatoes. These are the only part of this recipe that requires a little bit of legwork but it is so worth it in the end. The tomatoes are dredged in flour, an egg batter, and then a flour-cornmeal mixture before frying. This ensures that the batter sticks to them and that they come out nice and crispy.
Once they’re all fried up, they’re topped with a dollop of pimento cheese and placed on top of the pie crust. The whole pie goes into the oven for a few more minutes to melt the cheese and warm everything up.
The end result is rich and cheesy with the tart tomatoes adding a nice sour touch to all that decadence. It’s a must eat before this season is over!
- 60 Ritz crackers (225 g)
- 8 tbsp (113 g) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
- 1.5 cups (440 g) pimento cheese spread
- 1 cup (120 g) all purpose flour
- ½ cup (69 g) stone-ground cornmeal
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 medium (750 g) green tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch slices
- 3 cups peanut or vegetable oil
- Heat oven to 350F.
- Pulse the Ritz crackers in a food processor to form coarse crumbs. Pour into a large bowl and add the room temperature butter. Mix the butter into the Ritz crackers with your hands, kneading it until it comes together and the crumbs are thoroughly coated.
- Pour the crumbs into a quarter sheet pan and press them evenly across the bottom of the pan, tamping them down with a measuring cup.
- Place into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browed. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- Set the pimento cheese aside to rest at room temperature while you prepare the fried green tomatoes.
- Divide the flour into two shallow bowls. Pour the cornmeal into one of the bowls with the flour. Crack the eggs into a third shallow bowl and whisk to combine. Divide the salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper among the three bowls.
- Pat the tomato slices dry with a paper towel. Dredge a tomato slice in flour, turning it to coat it on both sides, and then drop it into the egg mixture. Coat the tomato on both sides with the egg, then drop into the cornmeal-flour mixture. Coat it on both sides with the cornmeal-flour mixture. Shake off any excess and set aside until ready to fry. Repeat with the remaining tomato slices.
- When ready to fry, pour the oil into a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Heat to 375F. When its ready add the tomatoes to the oil in batches of 3 or 4 at a time, depending on the size of your pot. Fry for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden. Repeat until all of the tomato slices are fried.
- Set the broiler to high.
- When ready to bake the pie, spread 1 cup of the room temperature pimento cheese across the cooled crust, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Top with the tomatoes. Use the remaining ½ cup of pimento cheese to place a small dollop on each of the tomato slices.
- Place in the oven and broil until the cheese is bubbling, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.