A grilled take on fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade
I love fried green tomatoes! My grandmother made them at the beginning of fall when there were so many tomatoes on the vine that no one minded picking the unripe ones and cooking them before they turned red and juicy. And later, when I lived in New Orleans, I discovered that fried green tomatoes were available all year at local restaurants. Many places served the fried tomatoes as a side or an appetizer. I was in heaven! But the first time I ever had the combination of fried green tomatoes and remoulade was at the long-shuttered, lunch-only institution Uglesichs. Uglesichs was known for its seafood and that day, it was a special. Fried green tomatoes and crab remoulade. Two of my favorite things on a plate together. How could it not be great? Hot-out-of-the-pan fried green tomatoes and cold lump crabmeat with remoulade sauce!
It was more than memorable; it became an obsession. I couldn't stop thinking about the dish. I went back several more times and they never had that special again.
So I took that flavor experience and decided to adapt it for myself — which of course means I adapted it for the grill — and I was thrilled with the results.
Let's start with the tomatoes. When I make these mock "fried" tomatoes, I slather the tops and bottoms in a mixture of mayo and Dijon mustard, then dredge them in fine white cornmeal. I grill them so that the texture is reminiscent of fried — a little gritty. That's just how they should be. Be sure to cut the tomatoes in thick (a generous ½ inch) slab-like slices so they hold up to the weight of the batter and the heat of the grill.
I prefer shrimp to crab with the green tomatoes, but feel free to make this with lump crab if you prefer. The shrimp must be made at least 2 hours in advance in order to let the bold flavors develop. That also makes this a great dish for a party, when you want all the prep work to be done before your company arrives.
I like to grill shell-on shrimp, as I think they have better flavor and the shell protects the delicate shrimp. But if you don't like to peel shrimp, feel free to use shrimp without shells, just remember that the peeled shrimp will take less time to cook.
Once everything is prepped, all you have to do before serving is grill the green tomatoes and plate your dish. Easy!
This July 27, 2015 photo shows grilled green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade in Concord, NH.