Crunch with a bit of heat, this version of fried green tomatoes combines fresh whole wheat bread crumbs with instant corn masa flour to provide a tremendous crunch and corn flavor. Using a grill pan, such as the Calphalon grill pan shown, to roast ears of corn over high heat allows better control of the char. Orange peppers brings a color burst without the added sweetness of red peppers. Just a bit of Creole seasoning in the cheese sauce elevates the heat without overwhelming the sweetness of the tomatoes.
The tomatoes, corn mix and cheese sauce may be prepared up to one day in advance. Simply prepare, cool and store in the refrigerator. To reheat the tomatoes, place on a rack on a baking sheet and reheat in a 400° oven for 10 min. To reheat the corn mix, place in a medium bowl and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. To reheat the cheese sauce, place in a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring often until heated through, about 5-6 minutes.
3 large, firm green tomatoes
1 t kosher salt
3 c whole wheat bread cubes
1 c instant corn masa flour
1 t smoked paprika
6 T whole milk
2 ears corn
½ T extra virgin olive oil
½ t Creole seasoning, such as Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
½ orange bell pepper, chopped
½ c green onion, thinly sliced
Creole Cheese Sauce
2 T unsalted butter
1 t garlic, minced
½ c chicken stock
¼ c whole milk
¼ c heavy cream
½ c Parmesan-Reggiano, shredded
½ – 1 t Creole seasoning, such as Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
1/8 t cayenne pepper
2 t chives, chopped
Wash and dry tomatoes; place on cutting board. Slice off both ends, discard, and cut remainder into 3 slices crosswise. Place slices on paper towel. Sprinkle with the kosher salt. Let sit for 15 minutes; pat dry.
Shuck corn and cut off ends. Coat the ears with the olive oil. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the Cajun seasoning. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Place corn in the pan and roast, turning occasionally until you attain the desired amount of char, about 10 – 15 minutes. Remove to a cutting board to cool.
When cool enough to handle, cut kernels from cob and place in a bowl with the chopped pepper and green onion.
Heat oven to warm or 150°, Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the bread cubes in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Add ½ cup masa flour and paprika. Pulse blend until combined. Place bread crumb mix into pie plate or small pizza pan. In second pan, place remaining massa flour. In a small bowl, combine eggs and 2 tablespoons whole milk; whisk until completely blended.
Generously spray a griddle with cooking oil and heat to 300°. Dip each tomato slice in the masa flour then egg wash and finally the bread crumb mix. Press to ensure crumbs stick to slices. Place on hot griddle cook 5-6 minutes until browned. Turn and cook an additional 5-6 minutes. Place on parchment paper line baking sheet and place in oven to stay warm while preparing sauce.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the minced garlic and cook until lightly browned and fragrant. Add the chicken stock and heavy cream. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer to reduce the liquid by a third, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cheese and stir to melt. Remove from heat. Add ½ teaspoon Creole seasoning and cayenne pepper. Add additional Creole seasoning depending on desired heat level.
Add ½ cup of the cheese to the corn mix and stir to coat.
Place one slide of tomato on a serving plate. Add 2 tablespoons of the corn mix. Repeat with another layer of tomato and corn mix. Pour 2 tablespoons of the cream sauce over the tomato tower. Top with a ½ teaspoon of chives.