Fried Green Tomatoes

15th December 2012

Lovely, lovely vegetables (yes, yes, tomatoes are a fruit). Veganism has taught me a lot of things, it opened my eyes to where the foods I used to consume came from but it has also opened my eyes to the wealth of foods I had been missing out on.

Yummy yummy gai lin and some grilled bean curd

I completely put down my discovery and consequent love affair with gai lan (Chinese broccoli) to being vegan. I wholeheartedly believe you can tell if a Chinese is good simply by whether they have it on the menu, I say quite honestly I will judge YOU if look at me like I am crazy when I ask for it and you don’t know what it is Mr/Ms Chinese restaurant waiting staff!

I also think my interest in heirloom veggies which I also hope we will be able to grow one day, is due to my inner vegan explorer.

Are you ready for the tomatoes now? Here they are:

GOR-geous right??!!

The first time I saw heirloom tomatoes was on an episode of Jamie Oliver. How could you not fall in love with their mishapen beauty, it looks like it has actually been allowed to grow naturally!

I saw these babies in Waitrose and immediately whipped them up, they are Marmande which is a French heirloom variety. But what to do with them? I am sure they would have been delicious simply served sliced on toast with a sprinkle of salt, oil and vinegar but I decided to try a recipe that has always intrigued me. Fried green tomatoes.

Fried green tomatoes with mayo

I used panko flakes that I found in Tesco (own brand Tesco no less!) which are a traditional Japanese bread crumb coating used for tonkatsu. They were really good the next day too, athough could have done with being thicker slices and also I think the point of using green tomatoes is that they are not ripe so they maintain their shape. Breaded and fried, what’s not to like!

I am sure you will have heard the revelation that all carrots were originally purple, did you know you can get purple potatoes too? See these beauties below on the left of the plate I had at Vanilla Black.

Vanilla Black: Tomato and majoram tart and pan fried polenta with braised celery, sea aster and heirloom potatoes

Heirloom with regards to fruits and vegetables is as you would usually understand the word. Something that is cherised and loved and passed down through generations. This is exactly what happens to the seeds of these plants, unlike the commerical varieties of fruits and vegetables we find in supermarkets these are not mass produced or have been modified to comply with industry standards. Unsurprisingly heirlooms are very popular with organic gardeners.

Just as there are oganisations committed to preserving rare breeds of animals there are similar bodies trying to enusre biodiversity by  preserving heirloom fruits and vegetables as the commercial types run the risk of completely replacing the many thousands of varieties.

Believe it or not you can actually adopt a vegetable http://www.adoptaveg.org/ Garden Organic are trying to conserve heirloom seed varieties so that they aren’t lost forever.

There is an interesting article here about how EU laws have been affecting the availability of heritage seeds and how they are having a surge in popularity.

Also read about Kew Gardens Millenium Seed Bank here and join in a seed swap if you live in Brighton or Hove here.



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