Fried green tomatoes are a staple in Southern cuisine. These crispy, yet juicy, tomato slices, are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. They make a delectable appetizer all on their own, but you can also use them as an entree side dish, a topper for salads, or as a crunchy hot base instead of crackers. Making fried green tomatoes doesn't take much time; in fact, the process of getting everything set up takes longer than the actual cooking process.
Place a large heavy skillet on a large burner on your stove. Pour in about 1 inch of oil, such as canola or vegetable. Turn the burner to a medium setting.
Wash and slice the green tomatoes into thick, even slices about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Spread the slices on paper towels to soak up excess moisture.
Place three cereal-sized bowls on your counter. Add flour seasoned with garlic powder in the first bowl. Break a few eggs in the middle bowl, and stir. Put breadcrumbs mixed with salt, black pepper and paprika in the third bowl.
Dip each green tomato slice into each bowl using a pair of tongs, starting with the flour. Shake off the excess flour and dip it into the egg wash. Then place the coated green tomato slice in the bowl of seasoned breadcrumbs. Turn over the slice several times, as needed, to ensure even coating. Place the coated slices on a plate until they're all completed.
Check the temperature of the oil on the stove with a food thermometer; ensure that it's 350 degrees Fahrenheit before you starting frying. Adjust the temperature setting as needed to increase or decrease the heat.
Pick up each coated green tomato slice with a pair of clean tongs. One by one, gently place each slice into the hot oil. Allow them to cook for a minute or 2, or until golden brown. Flip over the slices and let them fry for another minute or 2.
Set each fried green tomato slice on a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet to allow excess grease to drip away and prevent sogginess.
Serve the fried green tomatoes right away while they're still warm.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.