Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Baked green tomatoes

Another depressingly short growing season has come to an end in Ottawa, but there is an upside: green tomatoes. When the weather is good I can't bring myself to pick them (since I only get a few red ones over the summer), but once all hope of that has been abandoned I'm ready for them.

Come to me, pretties...
I love the American south. The people are damn friendly and the food is damn good. I especially love fried green tomatoes with house- or home-made pimento cheese. I've even found somewhere you can get them in Ottawa.

Unfortunately I do not possess the metabolism required to eat as many fried green tomatoes as I'd like without consequences, so I've been trying for for a couple of years to come up with a healthy but still delicious approximation.

That day has come.

These are crispy, flavourful, and totally appropriate for a weeknight when you've skipped your workout. Baking fried green tomatoes and making low fat cheese dip to eat with them is probably blasphemous, but you can make it up with the real stuff on a special occasion. 

Assembly line.
Baked Green Tomatoes
adapted from Baked-In

4-6 small-medium green tomatoes
2 Tbsp flour, + 1/4 tsp each kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper
2 egg whites
1/4 cup panko break crumbs
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
Ready for the oven.
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh-ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Set up an assembly line: On a plate mix together flour, salt, and pepper. In a second shallow dish, the egg whites. In a third dish combine the panko, cornmeal, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. At the end of the line spray a wire rack resting on a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Slice the tops and bottoms of the tomatoes, then slice into 1 cm (1/2") rounds.

Working a slice at a time, coat with the flour mixture, knocking off excess flour, then dip to coat in egg white before tossing in the cornmeal/panko mixture to coat and placing about an inch apart on the wire rack.

Bake the tomatoes for 25 minutes, until they are golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately with dipping sauce of choice - Southern Living has some suggestions, or you can use mine below.

Pictured here with chili-lime chicken stuffed poblano and a well-chived baked potato.
#Protip - if you have extra breading, it's great on fish (which can be baked alongside the tomatoes).

Light Blue Cheese and Avocado Dip for One
1 Tbsp low-fat sour cream
1 Tbsp nonfat plain yogurt
1/3 oz blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 oz avocado
Mash all ingredients together, season with salt and pepper and serve with tomatoes.

(If you use all of the coating ingredients for the tomatoes, this recipe is 7 Weight Watchers Points+. When I made it I only used 2/3 of the coating, so it was 5 Points+ for 16 tomato slices. The dip is 2 Points+.)