Sometimes, things just make sense. Like when two fantastic food concepts smash together in just the right way.
Fried green tomatoes are crispy and golden and fantastic by themselves… but stack them with fresh mozzarella and basil and a good heavy drizzle of balsamic reduction, and it’s the most unique and hearty caprese salad I’ve ever seen. And just look how pretty.
Can’t you imagine serving this as an appetizer at a dinner party, arranged willy-nilly on a big platter with basil leaves and balsamic scattered all over? But it’s simple enough to make for lunch today. Because the tomatoes are baked for a while, it doesn’t matter as much that tomatoes are sneaking out of season as we speak. Just get on it and make these ASAP before they’re all gone until next year!
Fried Green Tomato Caprese
Adapted from How Sweet It Is.
Makes 2-3 servings.
3 green tomatoes, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup medium grind cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
olive oil or non-stick spray for baking
12 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into rounds (ideally the same size as the tomatoes)
12 large fresh basil leaves
balsamic reduction for drizzling
Place the tomato slices on a cooling rack with paper towels underneath. Lightly salt both sides of each tomato slice to season them and draw out some water so they don’t get all soggy after baking. Let them sit for about 30 minutes, then rinse the tomatoes lightly under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
Heat oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne and mix to combine. Place the beaten egg in a small bowl. Coat each slice of tomato in the beaten egg, then in the bread crumb mixture, pressing to make sure it sticks. Place the breaded tomato slice on the parchment-lined baking sheet and continue with the rest of the tomatoes.
Spray the tomatoes with olive oil or non-stick spray. If you don’t have a spray bottle for your olive oil, just pour some in a shallow dish and lightly dip both sides of the tomato into it, then re-dredge lightly in the bread crumb mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.
Remove the tomatoes from the pan and allow to cool a bit. Assemble stacks by alternating tomatoes and mozzarella, tucking some basil leaves between the layers. Drizzle with the balsamic reduction and serve immediately.
Jessica used a mixture of regular bread crumbs and panko bread crumbs, which would give a lovely jagged crispness to the tomatoes. I just used homemade bread crumbs because there is always stale bread in my house. Feel free to experiment!
Music to cook by: Little Round Mirrors [Harvey Danger // Little by Little]