Recipe courtesy of Gaetano Varbero

Pickled and Fried Green Tomatoes

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 504 hr 45 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Inactive: 504 hr
  • Cook: 15 min
  • Yield: 20 side servings
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10 pounds green tomatoes (hard, unripe tomatoes)

1 pound salt

All-purpose flour, for dredging

2 eggs, beaten together

Homemade Breadcrumbs, recipe follows

2 cups canola oil

Homemade Breadcrumbs:

1 loaf hard Italian bread (3 days old)

1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano

1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Slice the green tomatoes into thick rounds, about 3 slices per tomato. Cover the bottom of a large crock or canister with one layer of the rounds. Then cover the tomatoes with a thick layer of salt. Place another layer of tomato rounds and salt on top and continue to layer until you reach the top of the crock or canister. Cover the top layer with a round piece of wood topped with a heavy rock or brick to weigh down the tomatoes. The rock will push the water out of the tomatoes and create a natural salt brine.
  2. In 3 weeks, the tomatoes will be compressed halfway down the crock. Taste one tomato to determine how salty it is. If the tomatoes are unbearably salty, they need more time to brine in the crock. Continue tasting them over the next few days, and when they begin tasting less salty, they are ready to be cooked. 
  3. Remove the tomatoes from the crock and wash them off to get rid of the excess salt. Flour the tomatoes on both sides and then, dip them in the egg wash. Then dip the tomatoes in the Homemade Breadcrumbs. Pour the canola oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, shallow fry a few rounds of tomatoes at a time until they are browned and crispy on both sides.

Homemade Breadcrumbs:

  1. For the breadcrumbs: Grind the loaf of stale bread into crumbs using a cheese grater or food processor. In a large bowl, mix the breadcrumbs together with the Pecorino Romano, parsley and black pepper.