Fried Green Tomatoes with Jalapeno Cheese Grits

in Dinner

So, I’m back in California. Back to the real world, with alarm clocks that go off at 6:00am and traffic that robs me of hours in my day and blahhhhh…. I just don’t want to think about it anymore. Instead, let’s pretend I’m still in the South and mull over that for a while. For starters, Southern folks really love to fry their vegetables. And, we really love grits, especially cheesy grits. So, yeah that’s what I would rather think about, okay?

First, a word on cheese grits. Most self-respecting Southerners have a cheese grits recipe that involves baking in the oven to really get them just right. You know that scene in “My Cousin Vinny” where the guy is offended at the suggestion that he uses instant grits? Where he proudly says in the courtroom, “I take pride in my grits!” Yeah, that’s not an exaggeration. This recipe, however, is the “quick” version of cheese grits, meant to be prepared over a stove in less than 30 minutes. If you’re lucky I’ll give you the recipe for my stepdad’s “real” cheese grits, but that will have to wait for another day.

Now, a word on frying vegetables. Most Southerners, my soon-to-be-husband included, like vegetables that have been deep fried in a nice thick batter. This method is often preferred because it hides the fact that what you are about to eat was once a source of nutrition. I, however, prefer a simple cornmeal crust on my veggies that are then fried in just a little oil in a pan. It’s a little lighter to eat, and the preparation is much easier for those of us that don’t own deep-friers (I’m looking at you, Paula Deen). I’m gonna eat this for lunch and pretend that I’m back in the South without a care or traffic jam in sight.

Fried Green Tomatoes

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2 medium green tomatoes
¼  cup milk
½ cup cornmeal

Heat a thin layer of oil on high in a pan. Slice the tomatoes to ¼ inch thickness. Dunk the slices in milk, and then in the cornmeal. Fry for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until they start to brown. Serve over delicious jalapeno cheese grits.

No-Bake Jalapeno Cheese Grits

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½ cup cornmeal
2 cups water
1 tablespoon chopped Jalapenos
½ cup cheddar (add more if you like them really cheesy)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons butter

In a medium saucepan, combine salt & water. Bring the water to a boil and whisk in the cornmeal to prevent lumps from forming. Reduce heat and stir grits occasionally. Once they begin to thicken (after 5-10 minutes) add in the jalapenos, cheddar cheese and pepper. Stir for a few more minutes until they are at desired consistency. What constitutes “desired consistency” is often a source of debate; I really hate soupy grits but I don’t like them as a hard mash either. Just before serving add in the butter and stir well until grits are creamy and irresistible.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex January 14, 2010 at 12:04 pm

If I ever find cornmeal or green tomatoes here, I’m definitely making this. It looks awesomely amazing!


Tigli January 14, 2010 at 2:44 pm

These look yummy! When i was in Boston last summer, I had some amazing jalapeno grits at a restaurant, and I’ve wanted to make my own ever since. And I just so happen to have all these ingredients in my kitchen…thanks!


Tere Payne January 15, 2010 at 10:10 am

I love ordering grits from Anson Mills. They are amazing and their periodic newsletter is a delight!


Diaczun Style January 15, 2010 at 7:08 pm

There is nothing better than cheesy grits and fried green tomatoes. A little southern soul sounds good right now!


grace January 18, 2010 at 4:35 am

oh, spicy cheese grits, how you tempt me! substitute pepper jack for the cheddar, and we have something i could eat at any time every single day. great southern meal!


Kirstin January 19, 2010 at 4:42 am

I LOVE fried green tomatoes! This dish sounds so awesome with the cheesy and the crunchy and the spicy…mmm


Jamie January 31, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Yum!! I wish I could eat them right now!


sandi @ the whistlestop cafe February 2, 2010 at 8:01 pm

I was photograzing (no calories that way) and look what I found. Your green tomatoes look great, and pairing them with spicy cheese grits is Southern Brilliance.


Margo June 7, 2010 at 10:20 am

I am trying to find the recipe used for jalapeno cheese grits from a restaurant on Sanibel, Doc Ford’s. They were delicious but so long ago, I can’t remember if they were non-baked. Any idea?


Caroline June 7, 2010 at 10:26 am

Where is the restaurant, is it in LA? I haven’t heard of them so I’m not sure exactly what made them so amazing, but I always love a challenge!


Rebekah August 9, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Holy Moly! I just looked at my overloaded tomato plants and thought..mmm better fry them green ones up! This recipe was meant to be.Thank you!


Nora August 15, 2010 at 3:50 pm

From your picture it looks like you used pickled jalapenos. Is that true? I have both fresh and pickled at home. My hsband had some jalapeno cheddar gits and I’d like to make them for him. I assumed I would use fresh. Please let me know which you use for this recipe. Thanks!


Caroline August 16, 2010 at 12:53 pm

I did use pickled jalapenos – although I’m sure fresh would work as well. I think fresh might be a little stronger, so just add slowly so you don’t overdo it


Terry September 14, 2010 at 10:25 am

Wow, this looks so good. I am originally from the south. I have had my fair share of both fried green tomatoes and cheese grits. I have never had them together though. I make my grits with grits( not cornmeal.)
Give this re3cipe a try. It is a winner in my family.

Tomato Grits
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

2 cups water
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick cooking grits
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup diced green onions
4 ounces processed cheddar cheese, cubed (suggested: Velveeta)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies (suggested: Ro-Tel)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a saucepan, bring the water and milk to a boil. Add the salt and slowly add the grits and return to a boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. While stirring the grits add the 1/2 cup of butter and stir until butter is melted. Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the grits are thick and creamy. Remove from heat and set aside.
Using a skillet, saute the onions in the remaining tablespoon of butter for 1 minute. Add the processed cheese, garlic powder, 1 1/2 cups cheddar, and onions to grits, and stir until the cheese is melted. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Pour the grits into a greased 8 by 11 by 2-inch casserole and bake for 40 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese over the casserole for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.

Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Medium
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

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Episode#: PA1A12
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