Fry Up Green Cherry Tomatoes For A Snackable Take On The Classic Dish

From chicken fried steak to beer-battered fish, breaded and fried food is both a labor of love and the benchmark of national or regional soul food. Fried green tomatoes are a prime example of a breaded and fried comfort food tradition in the Deep South. You can transform a typical plate of large fried green tomato rounds into bite-sized snacks or appetizers by swapping green tomatoes with green cherry tomatoes.

Green cherry tomatoes share characteristics with both regular green tomatoes and red cherry tomatoes. They aren't as much a type of tomato as they are an unripe version of a red tomato. Consequently, they're tart, crisp, and less juicy than their red counterparts. Cherry tomatoes, however, are famous for their thin skin, sweetness, and juiciness. Green cherry tomatoes are sweeter than large green tomatoes but are still noticeably tarter than red cherry tomatoes. They have thin skin but are still crunchy and firm.

In her recipe for easy fried green tomatoes, Tasting Table recipe developer Christina Musgrave demonstrates the dry-wet-dry dipping process involved in breading thick rounds of conventional green tomatoes. The same methodology applies to green cherry tomatoes, whether halved or whole. Cooking them will soften and sweeten the tomatoes, the oil will add juiciness, and the breading will seal in all that flavor and texture. Fried green cherry tomatoes provide a perfectly compact, self-contained, and mess-free bite.

Tips and flavor combinations for fried green cherry tomatoes

Fried green cherry tomatoes offer a savory, crunchy crust that bursts open to release tart, slightly sweet juiciness. The possibilities for dips, spreads, seasoning, and breading options to pair with these delicious bites are endless. While Musgrave's recipe uses a simple breading mixture of packaged breadcrumbs seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, you can create a more elaborate combination for a more extravagant crust.

You could swap regular breadcrumbs for cornmeal and spice it up with cayenne pepper and smoked paprika, for a spicy, smoky crunch. You can pair cornmeal fried green cherry tomatoes with a classic Southern comeback sauce. Another Southern favorite that would pair perfectly with your fried green cherry tomatoes is pimento cheese dip. To combine all your favorite Southern specialties into one decadent dish, you could make open-faced cornbread sandwiches topped with pimento cheese and a few fried green cherry tomatoes, with a drizzle of Tabasco sauce.

Green tomatoes, like all tomatoes, were originally a Mexican crop, so you can draw inspiration from Mexican flavors for dips and accompaniments. For example, serve fried green cherry tomatoes with a chipotle-mayo dipping sauce, guacamole, or roasted corn and a sprinkle of cotija cheese.