Seriously overrated

What on Earth is the point of fried tomatoes?

Seriously. You take a perfectly nice fruit like a tomato, you cook it until it's a gooey mess, then you dump it on top of your breakfast so the juice and seeds flow all over the place and make your toast all soggy.

All you're left with is a tough, leathery skin with a few clumps of flesh hanging to the underside. And, if you are stupid enough to pop it into your mouth, you immediately scorch your tongue and end up speaking with a lisp for the rest of the day.

A cheese and tomato sandwich is a wonderful thing. A freshly plucked tomato still warm from the greenhouse is a one of life's great pleasures—especially if eaten. But fried tomatoes are seriously overrated.

Give me a baked bean any day of the week.

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. In New Orleans, we fry green tomatoes (which hold their shape better than red ones), and before frying, we dip them in batter.

    Long a staple in other parts of the South, New Orleanians didn't take to fried green tomatoes until someone had the good idea to top them with Shrimp Remoulade. You could argue that a muddy boot would be delicious topped with Shrimp Remoulade, and you would be right.

    In New Orleans, the dish is served as an appetizer at lunch or dinner:

    I've never had English-style fried tomatoes. Do you saute them with a bit of garlic, or something? I don't see how that could be bad. In fact, I look forward to trying your fried tomatoes, only I will let them cool down before tasting so as not to blister my mouth parts.

  2. Having spent a week in New Orleans French Quarter last summer, I can fully endorse the above statement. They also have something called a catfish po' boy, which we ate while listening to Jimmy Bean Ballero & His Band....amazing.New Orleans also hasa brilliantused record store called called Vieux Carre Vinyl & a store where all the big blues guys buy their shirts & stuff.

  3. If you have the luxury of gorwing your own tomatoes and picking them at the moment of perfect ripeness then I'm sure what you say is true, and without doubt the best plan.

    For those who have to buy at least the bulk of their tomatoes picked under-ripe and red before their time (another rant entirely) cooking them is a very fine thing to do because they are so much sweeter and generally more flavoursome that way.

    For myself, I prefer to bake them - next time you cook roast beef, halve a few tom's, and put them in for the last 25m with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and either a little basil or a slither of garlic. Twice as tasty as raw and much more available lycopene, which if you're a guy iespecially s never a bad thing.

    You can always let them cool while the meat relaxes.

  4. Due to raging incompetence,I seem to have inserted the word "especially" into the middle of the word "is". Apologies for any confusion thereby caused.

  5. This is rapidly turning into Recipe Corner. Great stuff!

    I had no success at all with growing my own tomatoes last year - but I did try to grow them outside on the patio, and it was apparently avery bad year for tomatoes. The year before, they were magnificent.

  6. Will you try again this year? Bear in mind that by 2012 the weather will be too hot to grow anything but banana trees.

    I was 28 years old when I tasted my first sun-ripened tomato -- just off the vine, and still warm. I've never forgotten it. Having grown up in an American suburb eating supermarket tomatoes (hard, pink, woolly-fleshed things, bred for size over flavor) that gorgeous, fresh, GARDEN tomato was unlike anything I'd ever tasted.

    Nite Owl, thank you kindly for visiting New Orleans, which needs all the support it can get. But what possessed you to go in the summertime? "Like being basted in slowly-melting ham fat," someone wrote of summer in NOLA. Which nails it, I think.

    Vieux Carre Vinyl has fantastic inventory, but so densely packed that it can be tough to browse. Did you unearth anything worth buying? Another great store (not for vinyl, but for local music) is Louisiana Music Factory:

    Shoot for November or December if you ever come again. The weather is beautiful. And if you didn't venture outside the Quarter last time, I'd recommend it.

  7. In reply to Brooks:

    We were in New Orleans, driving north for the Leland & Chicago Blues Festivals along the Blues Highway. We were a bit disappointed with Bourbon Street (all lap dancing clubs & disco bars). We had to go to Frenchman Street for some real blues. We wanted to go to the Preservation Hall but it was closed the week we were there.

    I got a real bargain in Vieux Carre; a sealed copy of the Zappa & Beefheart bootleg 'metal man has hornet's wings' as well as a few blues rarities.

    I have recommended visiting New Oreans to all of my friends, especially the Old French Market Inn on Decateur, which was beautiful. We hope to go again next year in October & drive from New Orleans to Helena for the Arkansas Blues Festival again.

  8. The French Quarter of my '50s childhood was inhabited by working class families, tradespeople, impoverished artists, and a cracked and colorful fringe element. There were very few hotels and, if you can imagine it, no bead and tee-shirt shops. Sic transit gloria mundi. (And yes, Bourbon Street is a horror.)

    You scored handsomely at Vieux Carre Vinyl! Before your next trip, check out:

    You can filter results by type of music, club, etc. Don't hesitate to taxi to a far-flung nabe if you see a band that interests you. Cheers!

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