This season I’ll be joining forces with local urban farmers, Green City Growers. Each month, Green City Growers will feature a new fruit or vegetable on their site, along with tips for growing and caring for it. I’ll bring that same fruit or vegetable into my kitchen and show you how to turn it into something delicious!
You know that glow you get in your stomach from a warm meal or drink?
Lately I can’t get enough of it. I want hot food these days, primarily of the soup, chili, and melted cheese varieties. Anything glooby that will stick to my ribs and warm me through.
Admittedly I’m not the most hardy when it comes to being cold. But I’m not the only one who’s changing from the cooler weather right now. The plants that produced all of those bright juicy tomatoes two months ago are now holding on tightly to their firm green fruit. They’ll stay in the ground until the first frost, which—without a formal date to rely on—has had the farmers at Green City Growers watching diligently.
I visited their rooftop farm in Lynnfield, MA, where the flowers, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are winding down for the fall. It was a gray and chilly day that brought the farm’s colors to life—especially the greens.
During my visit, farmer Kate pruned the tomato plants and harvested the lowest tomatoes to allow more energy for the others. The ladybugs worked too, keeping the aphids far away from the tomato plants.
As beautiful as the farm was, standing out there on a chilly day left me no desire to eat raw fresh vegetables. Instead, I craved a hot meal, and divulged to Kate that I would fry the green tomatoes and stack them in an egg sandwich with bacon.
I broke a little sweat making the sandwich, which involved a few frying pans and my oven (for toasting the english muffins). As if the fried tomatoes, bacon and egg weren’t hearty enough, I slathered the sandwich with a bit of mayonnaise and dijon mustard for tanginess and moistness. When I pressed the sandwich together, the yolk ran and formed its own little dressing with the mayo and mustard. It coated the tomatoes, bacon and english muffin, each with their own special role in the sandwich: the tomatoes were tart and juicy; the bacon smoky, salty and chewy; and the english muffin sturdy in absorbing the whole mess.
If you’re wondering whether the sandwich warmed my belly, the answer is yes—it was as if I’d swallowed a light bulb. Because apart from consisting of fried ingredients and a bit of elbow grease—this sandwich stood no chance against my hunger. My plate was clean before the sandwich was even cool enough to handle, fueling me to brave the chilly fall weather—and a giant pile of dishes awaiting me in my kitchen.
Visit Green City Growers for more information on making the most of seasonal planning.
This sandwich is a special invitation for juicy green tomatoes to mingle with rich mayonnaise, tangy dijon mustard, and a runny fried egg. Together they meld into a velvety dressing that’s only semi-contained by the toasty english muffin halves on either end. With a bit of bacon for salt and smokiness, the sandwich comes together into a warm and hearty bundle of savory flavors. It’s a filling meal for any time of the day, especially if you’ve got leaf raking, sightseeing, or other cool-weather activities on the agenda.
Fried Green Tomato & Egg Sandwiches
makes (4) sandwiches
4 english muffins
8 slices of bacon
2 firm green tomatoes (about the diameter of an english muffin, if you can)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp Kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
mayonnaise, for serving
dijon mustard, for serving
*Whenever I’m shallow frying, I prefer to use extra virgin olive oil. Something relatively inexpensive from the grocery store (like Bertolli or Filippo Berio) will impart a nice flavor on the tomatoes without breaking the bank (or squandering “the good stuff”).
2 large frying pans
1 small non-stick frying pan
wire rack (helpful, but optional)
- Arrange the bacon slices in a large frying pan. Turn the flame on medium-low and allow the bacon to cook slowly and gently. As the bacon releases its grease, flip the slices periodically to ensure even cooking. Depending on the bacon’s thickness—and your preference for texture—this will take anywhere from 10-30 minutes (arduous, I know, but not as painful as enduring burned bacon).
- Meanwhile, pour a little shy of 1/4″ of olive oil into the other large frying pan. Heat the oil over medium heat while you prepare the tomatoes.
- Slice the tomatoes parallel to the equator into 1/4″ slices. Whisk the flour, salt and optional cayenne pepper together.
- Dredge the tomatoes into the flour to form a light coating (the moisture in the tomatoes will cause the flour to stick without any problem). Shake off any excess flour and set the tomatoes aside on either a plate or a wire rack.
- When the oil begins to shimmer, lower the edge of a tomato into the pan. If the oil sizzles and forms tiny bubbles, you are ready to fry. If instead, the tomato absorbs the oil with no activity—or, if you notice the flour coming right off of the tomato into the pan—remove the edge of the tomato and wait another minute or two.
- Arrange the dredged tomatoes into the heated oil so they fit comfortably in the pan with about 1/2″ of space on all sides. Fry the tomatoes for about 2-3 minutes per side, until their coating is crisp and lightly golden (they will be tender on the inside). Transfer the tomatoes to a plate lined with paper towels, and sprinkle them with a tiny pinch of salt. Repeat for the remaining tomatoes.
- Meanwhile, check on the bacon. When it has reached its desired doneness, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels.**
- Assuming your bacon and tomatoes are now ready and waiting, clear off the stove to make room for frying the eggs. You can begin toasting the english muffins at this point.
- For sunny-side up eggs with crisp, lacy edges:
- Heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil in a small non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, crack an egg into a small bowl.
- When the oil is shimmering and almost smoking, tip the frying pan to one side and allow the oil to collect in a pool.
- Hold the bowl with the egg as close to the oil as possible, and tip the egg into the hot oil. The egg will sizzle and puff up.
- Keeping the pan tipped with one hand, use a fork with the other hand to dig straight into the egg whites. Wiggle the fork back and forth to expose their surface to the hot oil and pan.
- With the pan STILL tipped, spoon the hot oil over the runny portions of the egg whites.
- When the whites are set, return the pan to a flat position and allow the egg to sizzle for about 20-30 more seconds.
- Remove the egg from the pan and repeat for the remaining eggs (note: I’ve used a lot of words here, but each egg takes barely over a minute to fry).
- Assemble the sandwiches by slathering each toasted english muffin half with mayonnaise and dijon mustard. Place a layer of fried green tomatoes, a layer of bacon, another layer of fried green tomatoes, and one egg on each sandwich. Serve and eat immediately.
**Strain and save the grease in an airtight container, because this is precious gold and will make everything taste delicious.