Becky’s Fried Green Tomato ‘BLT’ Salad

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  • 3-4 Green Tomatoes
  • scant 1 C canola oil, or grapeseed oil
  • 1 pint buttermilk
  • 1-2 T sriracha (Asian hot sauce)
  • ½ C cornstarch
  • 1 C yellow cornmeal
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • approx 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 6 strips bacon
  • scant ¼ C maple syrup
  • ½ C creme fraiche´
  • ½ small jar pepper jelly
  • ⅓ C blue cheese crumbles (recommended humbolt blue, if available) minced chives
  • butter lettuce torn
  • finishing salt

Combine buttermilk and sriracha, and heavy pinch salt, in shallow dish, and layer in sliced tomatoes. Let marinate for minimum 10 minutes, up to an hour. Preheat wide, high-sided skillet, with canola oil-- you want the oil hot, to shallow fry the tomatoes. Meanwhile, in another shallow dish, mix cornstarch with garlic powder, plus ½ tsp salt. In another separate shallow dish, combine cornmeal with remaining teaspoon salt. Remove tomatoes, and let strain off slightly. Press tomatoes into cornstarch mixture, evenly coating, then tap off excess. Then dip into beaten egg, coating well, and letting excess egg drip off. Lastly, press tomatoes into seasoned cornmeal, again, coating well, then tapping off excess. When oil, is hot, and glistening, and tomatoes, a couple at a time, and begin to shallow fry. The oil should spit a little bit when you add the breaded tomatoes. If the oil is not hot enough, the tomatoes will be soggy, if its too hot, they’ll burn too fast, before cooking through--so be mindful of the oil temp (med-med/high heat should suffice). It should not be smoking.  Fry a couple minutes per side, then flip. You’re looking for an overall golden color. Once cooked, remove them, and transfer to a wire rack, to drain, and cool, season with salt, while still hot.
Make the sauce by combining the creme fraiche´ and pepper jelly. Make bacon by brushing strips with maple syrup, then lay out on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Take a second sheet of parchment paper, spray it with cooking spray, and lay on top of bacon strip--then take a second (slightly smaller) baking sheet, and place directly on top. Place a small casserole dish (or other oven safe dish) and set on top of baking sheet, to weigh it down. Bake in 350 oven for 8-10 minutes. Check at 8 minutes, bacon should be crisping up, and nice and flat, like chips. When bacon is nicely browned, remove top baking sheet, and cook another 3 minutes, to caramelize the top. Don’t let the bacon burn, which can happen easily, so be careful--and watch closely. Remove bacon chips to wire rack to cool slightly.
Plate the dish by arranging green tomatoes, sliced in half, around plate. Drizzle with pepper jelly sauce, then blue cheese crumbles. Tear lettuce into small-ish pieces and place on top. Break bacon chips in 2-3 pieces and place on top, finish with minced chives. Serve Serves 4-5 as a first course or light main course.

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