June 29, 2011

These Ain't My Mama's Fried Tomatoes...

...but they're close.  My mother's family was from the South and even though we grew up in "northern" Maryland, there was a definite southern influence in my mother's cooking.  That is probably how I managed to escape the ravages of gluten sensitivity until my early adulthood.  While southern cooking often included bread and baked goods, it also included at least 3-4 different vegetables at every meal along with a satisfying quantity of meat.  You didn't need to eat any bread to be full.  Most of our foods were not processed in any way unless you counted the canning that my mother did all summer long.  We had string beans, tomatoes, relishes, pickles, peaches, apples, jams, and other assorted summer bounty all winter long thanks to the rows of jars stored in the basement.  

My father planted a big garden - nearly an acre's worth of vegetables - 200 tomato plants and zucchini, beans, corn, onions, lettuce, and whatever else struck his fancy that year.  It wasn't organic - my father believed in ample supplies of Sevin dust and fertilizers, but it must have been fairly innocuous stuff.  The bounty from that garden certainly did not contain the industrial oils, added sugars, and preservatives and other chemicals that processed food contains today.  We sold the extra in a little roadside stand at the end of our driveway.  Our tomatoes were the sweetest around - Georgia Big Boys - and people came from all over to buy them.

Sometimes, orthodox paleos like to chastise people for creating dishes that mimic processed foods - paleo pizza, almond flour desserts, etc.  But, come on, who doesn't miss those foods once in a while?  I have long gotten over my desire for bread and most dessert substitutes.  I really just don't want them any more except for a few cookies at Christmas or the occasional gluten-free pizza (or meatza).  Everyday Paleo's lasagne is better than regular lasagne - really!  But when summer comes, I still crave this simple summer meal that my mother made:  fried tomatoes, fried squash, bacon, and tomato gravy.  Sure, she served it on toast, but I found that toast is not needed at all and the flour that was traditionally used is easily substituted.  So enjoy the pictures below - I certainly enjoyed the food tonight!
Fried zucchini and patty pan squash.  Just dip the squash in a tiny bit of almond flour and salt and pepper and fry in bacon grease or lard.  Drain on a paper towel.
Do the same with the tomatoes as with the squash.  Leave a couple in the pan for the gravy. We always fried red tomatoes, never green.
While you are cooking the squash and tomatoes, "fry" up some bacon in the oven.
Smash a couple of those fried tomatoes in the leftover bits from the squash and tomatoes, stir in some milk (I used raw goat milk, but you could certainly use coconut milk or almond milk).  Sprinkle just a tiny amount of arrowroot powder in there to thicken it.  You can also use the leftover almond flour if needed.  If you like, smash a couple of pieces of cooked bacon in there as well.  Salt and pepper are a must.  You have now made tomato gravy.
Traditionally, we served this over toast, but honestly, you will not miss the toast at all.  Place some fried tomatoes and squash on the plate, add some bacon, cover with gravy, eat and go to southern heaven.


  1. yummo! I have lived in Georgia my whole life and I've never had tomato gravy! I will definitely be trying this recipe soon.

  2. I haven't had fried tomatoes in so long I totally forgot about them! I'll have to make this when my tomatoes start ripening!

  3. Thanks, Andrea and Lauren. I know you'll enjoy these when you eat them and anything with bacon can't be bad ;)

  4. I've also lived in Georgia most of my life and I've never had tomato gravy either, but that will change soon. :-) Thanks for sharing this Laurie!

  5. My mother's family was from the Carolinas so maybe it was a northern southern thing ;) Enjoy!

  6. I've also never had tomato gravy. Looks so good, though!

    Thanks for sharing,
    (AKA FoodRenegade)

  7. I tried fried green tomatoes and din't care for them. However, I absolutely love fried zuchini. I noticed that you fry your tomatoes when they are red, not green. I'm going to try that. I bet thay are good!

  8. I think the red ones are probably sweeter, but then again, I've never had them green ;)