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Spicy Fried Green Tomatoes with Pimento Cheese & Country Ham Lardon

  • 3 min read

What is summertime without enjoying farm fresh tomatoes from the field… or our backyard bounty… every which way we can?  Of course, there are few things as good as a tomato sandwich on white bread, with a goodly amount of mayonnaise (we won’t start a mayo war conversation here as to which one), a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

At first glance, you may think… “oh my, that recipe is just too much!”  Stay with me.  This really is a quick and easy recipe.  We’ve just added some helpful hints and options that make it “appear” to be outside your realm of possibility. 

So… for times when you feel a bit adventurous and need a southern snack on the porch swing with an ice-cold glass of sweet tea, or a side dish for just about anything, we bring you our sweet n’spicy fried green tomatoes! 

For us, these must be crispy.  No soggy fried green tomatoes around here. (You’ll be surprised at what we use to accomplish that.) Top with a dollop of spiffed up pimento cheese (yours or store-bought) and a dab of pepper jelly!  Goodness gracious they’re good!  If you happen to have any leftover, best to quickly crisp back up on “toast” setting in your toaster oven.  

We hope you will fix some of these crispy ‘maters… scattered with our crunchy bits of Rays Country Ham on top.  Top off that glass of tea and pass me a plate please!!!

Depending if you serve as a snack or as a side, you’ll get about 6-8 servings… (about 3 slices per medium tomato)

Ingredients:
4 medium-size green tomatoes, cut into 1/3” slices
salt
1-7.75 bag *hot* potato chips
about half of a 12-ounce package of Rays Country Ham*
preferred frying oil (we used sunflower)
1/2 cup flour
¾ cup buttermilk
several dashes hot sauce (we use NC’s Texas Pete)
chives or green onions for garnish

Slice tomatoes and lay onto paper towels. Lightly sprinkle with salt and drain at least 30 minutes before cooking. (This will pull out some of the moisture and make your tomatoes “meatier.”)
While tomatoes “rest,” put chips into a big zippered bag and smash on them until finely crumbled (Great for stress relief if needed!) and cook the ham. 

To cook ham:
Cut ham slices into thin strips, then snip into tiny pieces. (We use our kitchen dollar store scissors for this.) Put ½-inch of oil into 10-12” skillet over medium heat and cook ham just a minute or two until bits are tender. Remove half the pieces with a slotted spoon and let the other half continue sizzling until nice and crispy.  Remove crispy bits and combine with the other tender bits of ham.

To cook tomatoes:
Dip slices of tomato into flour, then buttermilk, then chip crumbs. (See note below.)
Fry in batches (in the ham oil over medium heat) until crunchy and lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on rack. 

Spiffed Up Pimento Cheese:
about 2/3 cup favorite store-bought pimento cheese (or your own)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1-2 teaspoons sugar, opt.
1 heaping tablespoon sweet pickle relish
2 teaspoons sweet pickle juice
minced chives or green onions
Combine all ingredients and mix well.
(You can use pimento cheese as is, but we feel the need to dress it up a bit.)

To serve:
Plate fried tomato slices and top with a dollop of pimento cheese and smidgen of pepper jelly. Scatter generously with ham bits. Garnish with snips of fresh chives.  We happened to have some blooming oregano and used some of that too.  

*We suggest just cooking the entire package of ham this way while you’re at it!  To nibble on the extras… throw on salads… baked potatoes… HLTs (ham/lettuce/tomato sandwiches)….  sub anywhere you’d used crumbled bacon.

Helpful hint:  The bag of chips will make about 3 cups of crumbs.  Put just a small amount in your bowl at the time so the crumbs don’t get too saturated and lumpy by the buttermilk. If any extras, toss in with the extra country ham bits.

Variations:

  • You can make this recipe with ripe red tomatoes too!
  • If your crowd isn’t fond of hot and spicy, simply substitute any other sort of potato chips. Dill pickle chips are especially good.

Use a different jelly for your “sweet” instead of hot pepper jelly. Fig or orange marmalade are nice.

 

Created by North Carolina’s renowned Home Economist/Recipe Creator
Wendy Perry
Exclusively for Rays Country Ham Company LLC

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