I love the beginning of Summer, when we see the first green beans in the market along with the first of the season tomatoes. The tomatoes are still a little green or even beginning to “blush”. I am using these “blushing” tomatoes in this recipe. Be sure to keep the corn meal breading light to ensure a crispy crust. I picked up some green beans and tomatoes from Kirkview Farm last week at the market along with some organic corn grits and stone-ground corn meal form Beaverdam Creek Farms. I also used some bacon form Triple L Ranch.
Pan Fried Tomatoes with Corn Grits and Bacon Green Beans
1 lbs fresh green beans
1/2 lbs uncured bacon
2 tsp sea salt, plus a few pinches
8 slices of green or “blushing” tomatoes
1/2 cup Hatcher buttermilk
1/2 cup organic stone ground corn meal
1 cup organic corn grits
2 tbl grapeseed oil
2 cups water (or 1 cup water and 1 cup milk, I used Hatcher Milk for this recipe)
pinch of salt
a little bacon fat
fresh ground black pepper
To make the green beans-
Bring 2 quarts of water to boil and add 2tsp of sea salt, and then the trimmed green bean. Cook for 4-5 minutes until very tender. Meanwhile as the beans cook, heat a 10″ iron skillet over medium heat and then add the bacon slices. Cook the bacon until lightly crispy, turning down the heat to medium low when the fat begins to splatter. Remove the bacon to a cutting board and rough chop into small pieces. Remove all but 2 tbl of bacon fat from the skillet (be sure to reserve for another use, like making cornbread). Once the beans are cooked drain well in a colander a let the bean steam off excess water for a minute or 2. Once the beans have cooled a bit and are dry, add them to the iron skillet with the reserved bacon fat. Toss well in the warm bacon fat and add the reserved chopped bacon. Season with a pinch of salt and some black pepper and the vinegar. Cook on medium low for 2-3 minutes until the beans absorb some the bacon essence. Remove to a bowl and keep warn until the grits are ready.
For the fried tomato-
Dip the slices of tomato in the buttermilk and then coat in the corn meal, set aside until ready to fry.
Heat 2 tbls of grapseed oil in the skillet over medium heat and when the oil is hot add the prepared tomatoes. Fry tomatoes for 1 minute on each side until golden. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and keep warm until ready to serve.
To Make the grits-
Bring the water and milk (if using) to a simmer over medium heat. Add the salt and whisk in the grits. Lower the heat to medium low and continue cooking for 20-30 minutes or until the grits are tender. Drizzle in a bit of the reserved bacon fat and stir. Remove from heat and keep warm until ready to serve.
Evenly divide the grits and green beans into 4 shallow bowls and place 2 fried tomatoes in each bowl. Grind a little black pepper over each bowl and serve. Enjoy!
Chef Michael Martin is owner and chef of South Fork Catering in Franklin Tennessee