Fried Green Tomatoes with Bacon Vinaigrette and Warm Frisée
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 10 MIN
- SERVINGS: 12
Any good bacon is wonderful in this tart, smoky and rich salad, but Joe Vitale especially likes the applewood-smoked kind from Nueske's in Wisconsin (nueskes.com). "It's probably the best bacon you'll ever find," he says. For him, the subtle, sweetly smoky applewood flavor beats alder or hickory.
- 4 large green (unripe) tomatoes, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 6 ounces thickly sliced bacon (6 slices), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- Cayenne pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Canola oil, for frying
- 1 large head of frisée lettuce (1/2 pound), torn into pieces
- In a large bowl, gently toss the tomatoes with the garlic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and let stand for 10 minutes.
- In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over moderately high heat until crisp, 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat; stir in the vinegar.
- In a pie plate or shallow bowl, season 3/4 cup of the flour with salt, pepper and cayenne. In another pie plate, whisk the eggs with the water. In a third pie plate, mix the cornmeal with the remaining 1/2 cup of flour and the thyme and season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Drain the tomatoes. Working with 1 slice at a time, dip the tomatoes in the flour, tapping off any excess, then dip in the beaten egg and then in the cornmeal; press to help it adhere. Transfer the breaded slices to the prepared baking sheet.
- In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of canola oil until shimmering. Fry the tomato slices in batches over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden, 5 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to a rack lined with paper towels to drain. Sprinkle the fried green tomatoes with salt.
- Rewarm the bacon fat and vinegar in the skillet over low heat. Add the frisée, season with salt and pepper and toss until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Transfer the fried tomatoes to plates and top with the wilted frisée. Garnish with the bacon and serve right away.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.