You Asked For It: Fried Green Tomatoes, Onion Cheese Biscuits and Buttermilk-Cornmeal Fried Chicken

I often have buttermilk leftover from recipes and usually end up throwing it away. Does anyone have recipes to share that use buttermilk?

Linda Bittaker, Clearwater

Last week we published breakfast items that use buttermilk, and this week it's dinner. Actually, a Southern-themed dinner. We start off with a side dish of fried green tomatoes submitted by Spring Hill resident Cindy Shea. The dish is a Southern specialty that came to national attention with the movie Fried Green Tomatoes. The recipe calls for the use of a cast iron skillet, which I do not have. A heavy-bottomed skillet worked well, but the cast iron will produce a crunchier crust. The tomatoes were still wonderful and are best enjoyed hot. I did have a hard time finding green tomatoes. I struck out twice at the local produce stand I visit, but happened to find an abundance at a roadside produce stand in Plant City (Johnson's Produce at the Branch Forbes Road exit). Plan to use them right after you purchase them because they don't stay green long.

Angela Foushee of Palm Harbor shares an onion cheese biscuit recipe that can be made quickly before dinner. They are very flavorful biscuits and bake to a nice golden brown. Be sure to use a biscuit cutter for best results. When you use a glass or other implement, you risk sealing the sides and your biscuits won't be fluffy.

Jen Galligan of Clearwater offers the main dish. Buttermilk-cornmeal fried chicken is a delicious recipe. It comes from the Williams-Sonoma cookbook The South. The use of cornmeal makes this chicken extra crunchy. You do need to plan for this recipe because you need to soak the chicken pieces in a buttermilk mixture for at least four hours. This is another flavorful dish that would pair nicely with either of the other recipes here for a home-cooked, truly Southern meal.

>>EASy

Fried Green Tomatoes

1 large egg, lightly beaten

½ cup buttermilk

½ cup all-purpose flour, divided

½ cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

3 medium-sized green tomatoes, cut into 1/3-inch slices

Vegetable oil

Salt to taste

Combine egg and buttermilk and set aside. Combine ¼ cup all-purpose flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper in shallow bowl or pan. Dredge tomato slices in remaining ¼ cup flour; dip in egg mixture and dredge in cornmeal mixture.

Pour oil to a depth of ¼ to ½ inch in a large cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed skillet. Heat to 375 degrees. Drop tomatoes, in batches, into hot oil and cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels or a rack. (A rack will keep them crispy.) Sprinkle hot tomatoes with salt and serve immediately.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: Cindy Shea, Spring Hill

>>moderate

Onion Cheese Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup cold butter

2 cups shredded cheddar-Monterey Jack cheese, divided

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup buttermilk

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and baking soda. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1 ¼ cups cheddar-Monterey Jack cheese and the Parmesan cheese. Stir in buttermilk just until moistened.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead 6 to 8 times. Pat or roll out to ½-inch thickness; cut with a floured 2 ½-inch biscuit cutter. Place 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 1 dozen.

Source: Angela Foushee, Palm Harbor

>>moderate

Buttermilk-Cornmeal Fried Chicken

2 cups buttermilk

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 frying chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

2 cups solid vegetable shortening

In a large bowl, stir together the buttermilk and hot sauce. Slip the chicken pieces into the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

In a shallow dish, stir together cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper, sage, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder. Remove each piece of chicken from the buttermilk, allowing excess to drip off. Coat the chicken pieces evenly with the seasoned flour and place on a large baking sheet.

In a large deep frying pan over medium high heat, melt the shortening and heat to 360 degrees. Arrange the chicken, skin side down, in the pan. Allow the pieces to touch slightly but do not overcrowd the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Using tongs, turn the chicken, cover and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Uncover the chicken and cook until crisp and cooked through, about 10 minutes longer.

Using tongs, transfer to paper towels to drain.

Serves 4.

Source: Jen Galligan, Clearwater

Recipes tested by Times correspondent Ellen Folkman unless otherwise noted. Send requests to You Asked For It, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail youaskedforit@knology.net. Please put "recipe request" in the subject line. Include your name, city and phone number.

You Asked For It: Fried Green Tomatoes, Onion Cheese Biscuits and Buttermilk-Cornmeal Fried Chicken 07/28/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 5:30am]

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