Fried Green Tomatoes with a BLT Twist


The BLT began life before 1900 as a dainty tea sandwich, and it gradually evolved into the hearty club sandwich we all know and love today. The fried tomato (not just the green variety) grew up around the same time, appearing in Midwestern cookbooks in the late 19th century, in classics like The Buckeye Cookbook (1877) and The Presbyterian Cookbook (1873), published by the First Presbyterian Church of Dayton, Ohio.

For lovers of a good, classic BLT and a fried green tomato, Salt’s Cure in Hollywood has come up with a genius rendition that combines the two. And it is heaven on bread.

Since opening in 2010, this popular all-day dining establishment has been a testament to sustainable, farm-to-table cooking. Proudly sourcing ingredients grown and raised in California, chef-owners Chris Phelps and Zak Walters carefully butcher each farm-raised animal in-house and remain dedicated to crafting a menu that supports the local community by featuring produce, meat, poultry, and fish that come from farms, ranches, and fisheries guided by principles of sustainability. The restaurant’s bounty of tomatoes—green and otherwise—are sourced from Wong Farms, which sells its produce at the Wednesday Santa Monica farmer’s market, a chef’s haven for sourcing produce.

We’re fans—any way to get the delicious tomato onto our plates during the off-season seems like a perfectly smart idea.

Salt’s Cure has received praise for the philosophy behind its menu from the community, yes, but also arbiters of taste: Travel + Leisure magazine named it L.A.’s #1 Farm-to-Table Restaurant. The chefs’ ethos is apt: “If it’s not humanely and consciously raised, it’s not on the plate.”

Raised in Oklahoma, Chef Walters eventually wound up in San Francisco, where he worked under Dennis Leary and Stuart Brioza at Rubicon. He remains true to his roots. “My inspiration for this sandwich was just to create a play on a BLT for the off-summer season. I could say that my mother’s favorite movie was Fried Green Tomatoes and that we ate them religiously every year they came into season, but that would only be partly true,” he says with a laugh.

While Salt’s Cure might reside in California, and fried green tomatoes remain a beloved southern staple, fried green tomatoes actually originated in some of the colder regions, such as Detroit and Pittsburgh, generally served during the winter. We’re fans—any way to get the delicious tomato onto our plates during the off-season seems like a perfectly smart idea.


Salt’s Cure’s Fried Green Tomato Sandwich
Makes 2 sandwiches

Ingredients:

1 green tomato, sliced thick
4 thick slices of your best bacon
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup arugula
2 sandwich buns or good-quality whole-wheat sliced bread
Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional, to taste:
Blue cheese, choose your favorite
Mayonnaise

Instructions:

Soak the green tomato slices in buttermilk for at least an hour. Season the flour with a good pinch of black pepper and salt. Dredge the tomato in the flour mixture.

Over medium heat, heat a heavy-bottomed pan (cast iron is best) and cook the bacon to desired crispiness. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and finish crisping.

In the same pan, over medium-high heat, fry the slices of tomato in the rendered bacon fat. If the pan is too dry, add a little olive oil. Fry the tomato on each side until golden brown, and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle sea salt on the tomato to finish. Turn off heat.

While the pan is still warm, gently toast the buns or bread slices in the pan.

To assemble the sandwiches, spread mayonnaise, if using, evenly on both sides of the bread. Lay two of the fried green tomato slices on the bread and top with blue cheese, if using. Add arugula and close sandwich. Cut in half and serve.