Waste not, want not. That’s the mantra of the Southern cook. Which is how fried green tomatoes came into being. There are two schools of thought on why frying green tomatoes ever got started in the first place. One school has it that tomato vines would become so heavy in the summer that gardeners would pick some of the tomatoes green to lighten up the vine.
I do not subscribe to that theory. I think the more likely scenario was that at the end of the growing season, when the first frost was about to hit, that thrifty gardeners picked the unripe tomatoes rather than letting them freeze on the vine. Some of them could go into relishes or pies. But the best and highest use of a green tomato is to fry it.
Somewhere along the way, fried green tomatoes met up with remoulade sauce. I actually looked up the translation of remoulade and do you know what it is? Tartar sauce! The birthplace of this combination seems to be New Orleans, where Southern meets French and it comes out Cajun. And, of course, adding shrimp just gilds the lily, which is what those people in New Orleans love to do anyway.
If you, like me, hate to buy a bottle of something for just one recipe then you can substitute ketchup for chili sauce in this recipe. But just let me warn you that you’re going to need that chili sauce for the blue moon sandwiches you don’t you’re going to make yet, but which you surely will. Chili sauce keeps for something like 346 years in the icebox, so don’t worry. You’ll use it up.
Shrimp remoulade with fried green tomatoes
1 cup mayonnaise
The juice of ½ large lemon
1 tablespoon chili sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon parsley, roughly chopped
½ pound raw peeled shrimp
2 large green tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Mix together the first seven ingredients and let sit in the refrigerator. Boil the shrimp until just pink and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking. Mix the shrimp and remoulade sauce and continue refrigerating.
Slice the tomatoes into 1/3-inch slices. Dip in milk and then in cornmeal. Season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a heavy skillet and fry tomatoes until golden brown.
Serve shrimp remoulade on top of tomatoes.