Meatless Monday: The Mardi Gras Edition

By: Patty Lee
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Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

There's no such thing as too much when it comes to Mardi Gras. When the festivities kick off tomorrow, bring a little excess to your own dinner table with this deep-fried Southern side dish. Dipped in buttermilk to bolster their natural tartness, the green tomato are then crusted in panko instead of traditional cornmeal to give them extra crunch. Nosh on the tangy poppers as a standalone snack — paired with creamy, poblano-flecked mayo — or toss them on top of greens to give your salad a dose of Big Easy flair. If you truly want to take things over the top, pile the golden-brown bites into a baguette with your favorite vegetarian fixin's to form the ultimate Meatless Monday po'boy.

Mayonnaise:
1 ear corn
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 roasted poblano chile, fresh or canned, seeded
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Tomatoes:
2 large green tomatoes (about 1 pound)
Oil, for frying
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt
All-purpose flour, for dredging
2 cups buttermilk
1 lime, cut in wedges
Directions:

For the mayonnaise: Boil the corn in a small pot of salted water or microwave for 3 to 4 minutes. Cool. Cut the kernels from the cob and then run a knife along the cobs to press out the milky juices into the bowl. Discard the cob or save for making a broth.

Blend the corn kernels in the milky juices, mayonnaise, sour cream and chile, together in a mini-food processor until smooth. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Set aside.

For the tomatoes: Cut the tomatoes into wedges, about 3/4-inch at the thickest, about 16 wedges per tomato.

Pour 2 to 3 inches of oil in to a medium pot and heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers between 350 and 360 degrees F.

Mix together the panko and cayenne with 1 tablespoon salt in a bowl. Put the flour in another bowl, and in a third bowl pour the buttermilk. (Have a bowl of water for dipping your fingers to keep them clean while breading.)

Dredge the tomatoes wedges first in the buttermilk, then the flour, then again in the buttermilk and then finally dredge in the panko, turning as needed to make sure they are well coated. Working in batches of 4 or 5 pieces, fry the tomatoes, turning as needed, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels and season with salt.

Serve the tomatoes with the mayonnaise and lime wedges.

More Meatless Mardi Gras recipes:
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