Summer Begins Tonight

I know that by the calendar, there are still almost two days before the official beginning of summer. But in my little corner of the world, summer is about to begin this afternoon. I say this because I am going to be preparing fried green tomatoes for my dinner. One of my three or four greatest comfort foods, and a definite harbinger of summer.

When I was young, we never had fried green tomatoes until late June or early July. They became one of the signs of summer in my young mind, and they remain so all these years later. Corn on the cob was another of those foods that identified summer, though that came later most years, long after summer had actually begun.

Today I purchased two nice, plump, solid, green tomatoes. I will eat them myself, since my wife is not a fried green tomato connoisseur. In our family only my daughter has inherited the fried green tomato gene, but alas, she will not be dining with us this evening. I must then do all within my power to consume the fried green tomatoes without the aid of anyone else. My entire dinner will consist of them, so I think I will be able to manage the task.

My method of preparing fried green tomatoes is a time honored one learned from my mother and grandmother. First I will slice the tomatoes into sections about a quarter inch thick. I will then put them into a bowl of beaten whole eggs with a little milk added. Next I will dip each slice into a mixture of corn meal and flour.

Then I will put the tomatoes, along with diced onion and minced garlic, into an iron skillet with about a half inch of hot olive oil. As they sauté in the oil, I will add a coating of coarse ground pepper and just a pinch or two of salt. After a couple of minutes I will turn the tomatoes so as to brown the other side, adding a little more pepper.

When the tomatoes are brown and tender, I will place them on paper towel to absorb any excess oil. I will then consume them with a smile that will only be matched by the next time I prepare and eat fried green tomatoes.