Most everyone gets excited about end-of-the-season ripe tomatoes. But we’re addicted to the unripened green ones. Especially when they’re fried up crispy in a hot, hot pan of bacon fat. And they’re even more delectable when paired with creamy avocado, crunchy iceberg lettuce, and salty bacon, then tucked inside a toasted English muffin spread with tart-sweet Major Grey’s chutney. This meal, a harmonious blend of rebel yell and Union Jack, is definitely something to get excited about.
FRIED GREEN TOMATO SANDWICHES WITH BACON AND CHUTNEY
START TO FINISH: 35 minutes
ACTIVE TIME: 35 minutes
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 green tomato, cut into 4 big slices 1/2 in thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices bacon
1 tbsp vegetable oil, or as needed (optional)
1/3 cup/100 g Major Grey’s chutney
4 English muffins, split and toasted
1/2 ripe avocado, peeled and thinly sliced (See “it’s that easy”)
4 or 8 iceberg lettuce leaves
Put the panko and flour in two separate shallow bowls. Put the egg in a third shallow bowl and beat until well blended. Sprinkle the tomato slices on both sides with salt and pepper and dredge them in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip the slices in the egg and then dredge them in the panko to coat completely. Set aside on a plate.
Heat a 12-in/30.5-cm skillet over medium-high heat and add half the bacon slices. Cook, turning as needed, until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes total. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Cook the remaining bacon in the same way.
There should be lots of bacon fat in the pan for frying the tomatoes, but add the vegetable oil if it ever seems to be too dry. Add the breaded tomato slices to the hot pan and fry until browned on the first side, about 2 minutes. Flip them over carefully with a wide spatula and cook to brown the second side, another 2 minutes or so. Transfer the tomatoes as they are finished to the plate with the bacon.
Spread some of the chutney on each toasted muffin bottom and top each with a tomato slice, one-fourth of the avocado, 2 slices of bacon, and a lettuce leaf or two. Close up each sandwich with a muffin top. You will have four small sandwiches. (You’ll wish you had a dozen!) Serve immediately. variation: If you can’t find green tomatoes, make this sandwich with zucchini instead. Just slice a zucchini thinly (about 1/4 in/6 mm thick) and fry up 3 slices to pile on each sandwich (or more, depending on the size of your zucchini). You might need more panko for coating and oil for frying.
It’s That Easy: Hmmmm. What to do with half an avocado? Here’s what I do with the remaining half: First, leave the peel and the pit intact. Put it in a container with a lid and add a piece of cut onion. Cover and refrigerate. It won’t oxidize so quickly and will stay green and fresh in the fridge for a few days.
Extra Hungry? A little cup of soup would round this meal out on extra-hungry nights. Heat up a few mugs of canned black bean soup in the microwave and top with a squirt of lime and some of the extra chopped avocado.
Wine Pairing: I look for something light and refreshing to go with this summery sandwich, such as an Oregon Pinot Gris from Elk Cove or an inexpensive Pinot Grigio from Italy.