Together, two Southern staples make magic
It’s a simple summer dish that combines two Southern staples: garden grown tomatoes and fresh bay shrimp. The hot, crispy fried green tomatoes straight from the skillet and chilled shrimp smothered in a spicy, creamy rémoulade conspire to create magic. The resulting dish has become a revered classic and graces plates all along the Gulf Coast.
Why green tomatoes? The firm flesh of a green tomato holds up well to the heat of frying. The underripe fruit’s slight tart flavor marries well with the deep-fried batter.
Fried Green Tomatoes and Shrimp Rémoulade
For the shrimp:
2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
Dash of Crystal Hot Sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 pounds shrimp, in their shells
For the rémoulade:
1⁄2 cup coarse mustard
1⁄3 cup ketchup
1⁄3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared
11⁄2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
11⁄2 teaspoons paprika
1⁄2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste
1⁄4 cup celery, finely chopped
1⁄2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1⁄4 red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoons green onions, finely sliced
For the tomatoes:
4 large green tomatoes
11⁄2 cups buttermilk
16 ounces Zatarain’s
Wonderful Fish Fry
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh cracked black pepper
For the shrimp: Fill a pot with 4 quarts of water; add Old Bay Seasoning, hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, add shrimp and boil 1 to 2 minutes. Drain, rinse and drain again. Transfer to covered container and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Peel and devein. Return to refrigerator until ready to assemble dish.
For the rémoulade: Combine mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, horseradish, lemon juice, paprika, white pepper and 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper and mix well. Add cayenne pepper and salt, adjusting to taste. Mix in celery, bell pepper, onion and capers. Gently fold in shrimp. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes.
For the tomatoes: Cut off ends of tomatoes and cut each tomato into about three 1⁄2-inch slices. Put tomato slices in a large bowl. Add buttermilk and turn to coat. Let sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place a large heavy pot or deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to about 2 inches deep and heat to 325 F.
In a shallow pan, mix fish fry, salt and pepper. Working in batches, remove tomatoes from buttermilk, shaking off excess. Dip and flip in coating, shaking off excess. Slip into oil and fry until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
To serve, plate a tomato, top with shrimp and sprinkle with green onions. Serve immediately.
Alicia Cahill is the owner of The Kitchen Chick, 528 23rd St. in Galveston.