You Can (And Should) Make Fried Green Tomatoes In Your Air Fryer

Fried and fresh green tomatoes
Fried and fresh green tomatoes - Stephaniefrey/Getty Images

Out of the 10,000-plus tomato cultivars around the world, from cherry to Roma to beefsteak, one of the most distinctive of all is the jazzy green tomato. Green tomatoes are either unripened red tomatoes or varieties that naturally flaunt a green color even at peak ripeness, such as the Green Zebra. Unripe green tomatoes boast a tart and acidic flavor, while "true" green tomatoes can be sweet and even slightly spicy. Regardless of which type you can get your hands on, fried green tomatoes are one of the most famous ways to use them -- and this dish gets a lot easier when you use an air fryer.

In the southern U.S., fried green tomatoes are a quintessential side or appetizer, and making them in your air fryer is a time- and ingredient-saving alternative to traditional deep-frying or oven-roasting. Air fryers work up twice as fast as conventional ovens, which makes them ideal for fried tomatoes on the fly. And unlike deep-fryers, which require a substantial amount of oil that's a pain to clean up afterward, a thin coating is all you need with your handy dandy air fryer. You won't have to restock on pricey cooking oil immediately after preparing your crunchy and tangy side dish. Plus, the circulation of hot air in the appliance allows a decadent crust to develop on the exterior your slices, giving each bite a satisfyingly crispy mouthfeel.

Read more: 12 Vegetables And Fruits That Used To Look Very Different

Tips For Air-Frying Green Tomatoes

black air fryer on counter
black air fryer on counter - Casezy/Getty Images

Thanks to their convenience, air fryers are great appliances for those new to cooking and well-seasoned chefs alike, but even air fryer recipes come with guidelines you need to keep in mind. For starters, avoid using a wet batter to coat your green tomatoes. Unlike deep-frying, where the hot the oil allows loose, wet batter to quickly solidify and form a crispy coating, wet batters won't effectively cook in the air fryer. You're likely to wind up with a gloopy mess in the basket and tomatoes that are soggy with the breading falling off. It's better to achieve that deep-fried crunch with the help of a little oil and some panko breadcrumbs.

To streamline cleanup, line the air fryer basket with non-stick parchment paper to catch oil residue and crumbs for easy disposal. Foil could also work, but tomatoes are more likely to stick to it. Careful with parchment, though -- it can only withstand temperatures up to 428 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want to cook any hotter than that, you should use a lightly-greased sheet or foil or just an unlined basket. Avoid overcrowding the air fryer to prevent uneven cooking, too. If necessary, cook your tomatoes in batches.

With these simple tips in mind, you'll have air-fried green tomatoes the whole neighborhood will be talking about. Like all fried foods, they taste best served fresh out of the (air) fryer, so as soon they're done (and cooled to a reasonable temperature), dive in!

Ways To Enjoy Fried Green Tomatoes

Sandwich with fried green tomatoes
Sandwich with fried green tomatoes - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Now that you're privy to the greatness that is air-fried green tomatoes, you'll need some complementary pairings to round things out, whether you're incorporating them into a main course or enjoying them as a finger food. Green tomatoes are a great alternative to red tomatoes in beef, turkey, or vegan burgers. Their crunchy texture and tart taste make for an exciting departure from tradition. The crisp tomatoes contrast with the soft, fluffy bun and meaty patty.

Fried green tomatoes are often served as an appetizer, and they're best paired with a dipping sauce. A creamy buttermilk ranch dressing adds a layer of richness to the crisp breading, while bolstering the tanginess of the tomato. If you want to serve the tomatoes alone, don't skimp on seasonings! Garlic and onion powder can give the tomatoes a complimentary allium flair, while paprika imparts a smoky twist. Fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme provide a garden-fresh aroma, too. Bonus points if you blend the spices and herbs into your breadcrumb coating, instead of just sprinkling them on top.

Next time you're feeling uninspired in the kitchen, look for some one-of-a-kind green tomatoes and fire up the air fryer for a crunchy, zesty, and downright delicious fried veggie recipe that's finished in a flash. Trust us, it's a Southern classic for a reason.

Read the original article on Daily Meal