Fried Green Tomatoes, Pickles, and Okra with Crème Fraîche Ranch Dip

  1. Make the dip: Sprinkle kosher salt over garlic on a work surface. Using the side of a knife blade, mash garlic mixture to form a paste. Stir together garlic paste, crème fraîche, dill, chives, and lemon zest in a bowl. Set aside until ready to serve.
  2. Make the fried vegetables: Slice tomatoes into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick slices. (You should get 4 to 5 slices per tomato.) Cut and discard stems from okra pods, leaving pods whole. Set tomatoes and okra aside.
  3. Pour oil to a depth of 1 inch into a large cast-iron skillet; heat over medium-high to 325°F. (Closely watch the temperature, adjusting heat as necessary to maintain 325°F.)
  4. While oil heats, place cornstarch in a wide, shallow dish. In a second wide, shallow dish, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. In a third wide, shallow dish, whisk together cornmeal, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Dredge tomato slices, okra, and pickles in cornstarch, shaking off excess; dip in egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture, patting cornmeal coating onto vegetables. Place breaded vegetables on parchment paper–lined baking sheets.
  5. Make the fried vegetables: Fry coated tomato slices and okra pods until golden brown and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes, flipping halfway through frying. Fry pickles until golden brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes, flipping halfway through frying. Transfer vegetables to baking sheets lined with paper towels. Immediately sprinkle with sea salt after removing from oil. Serve fried vegetables with dip.

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