Southern Hospitality: A Lunch to Remember

So summer is in full swing in Texas. I’m sweating. I have allergies. It’s too hot for no AC. The dogs are panting. I want lemonade. and I need Southern summer food – ribs, watermelon, iced tea vodka mixed drinks, grilled corn, potato and pasta salads abound, and every now and again, I want a mash up of Southern foods. This sandwich accomplishes that.

Taking a beautifully rich pimento cheese and adding in smoky bacon is taken to a level with the sweetly acidic and buttery tastes of a quintessential Southern food: Fried Green Tomatoes.  These actually are perfect as a starter or “small plate” (those are getting popular…why? I always feel stifled…what if I want a big plate?) when these are cut in quarters and I highly suggest a speared bread and butter pickle on the toothpick. Gorgeous.

Hope you are surrounded by picnics and patriotism this weekend – ENJOY!

The South Rises Again Grilled Cheese

4 slices of peppered bacon

½ lb. cheddar cheese, hand grated or cubed

½ lb. American cheese slices, cut into

½ c buttermilk

3 T. pickled jalapeno, chopped

¼ c pimiento, diced

4 slices of good sandwich bread, preferably something hearty like wheat or seeded

6 slices of fried green tomatoes, below (you’ll want more for eating on the side!)

For the fried green tomatoes

2 green tomatoes

2 cups flour

2 eggs

½ C whole milk

Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 425. On a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack on top, place bacon on and cook for 15-18 minutes, until crispy. Set aside.

Slice American cheese singles into postage stamp size pieces and place into a food processor. Then grate cheddar and add to the food processor. Add the buttermilk, jalapenos and diced pimento and pulse lightly until they are mixed through, but the pimiento and pepper stay slightly dotted through the mix. Refrigerate for a few hours to meld together flavors.

It is now time to make the fried tomatoes. In a skillet place ½ cup of oil and turn to higher heat.

In one dish mix the egg and milk. In another dish place the flour and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Thinly slice your green tomatoes (1/4 inch is great.) and dip them in the egg mixture, then in the flour mixture. Fry in the skillet on both sides until caramel colored. Place on a paper towel lined dish to drain. Keep warm in a low oven.

Clean out the frying pan, and prepare to assemble sandwiches. Spread half the cheese mixture between two slices of sandwich bread forming two sandwiches. Butter the outside of the bread and place into the hot skillet. Sear until cheese melts slightly. Repeat for other sandwich.

Slice sandwiches in half and “stuff” the bacon and green tomatoes into each. Enjoy!


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