Recipe: Fried Green Tomatoes with Tarragon Buttermilk Ranch

In mid-September, tomato lovers from across the country took to Santa Rosa, Calif. to attend the 16th Annual Kendall-Jackson Heirloom Tomato festival. At the festival, Kendall-Jackson Executive Chef Justin Wangler shared a few recipes with "CBS This Morning." Wangler and his team crafted the recipes to celebrate the heirloom tomato and showcase its dynamic flavors.

This simple southern appetizer works well with the Sauvignon Blanc due to the green, sour flavor of early summer tomatoes. And, the tarragon in the buttermilk ranch adds a twist to one of America's most popular salad dressings.

RECIPE:  Fried Green Tomatoes with Tarragon Buttermilk Ranch 

Serves 4

For the fried green tomatoes:

  • 2 large unripe green tomatoes, sliced half-inch thick
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. good sea salt, for plating

In a medium sized bowl, soak the tomatoes in the buttermilk and set aside.

In a 12-inch cast iron skillet, fry the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon once done and eat as a snack or reserve for another purpose, such as BLT's.

In a large bowl, mix the remaining dry ingredients. Using tongs or a fork, remove the tomato slices from the buttermilk and coat with the cornmeal-flour mixture. Place the tomato slices in the cast iron skillet with the bacon fat and fry until golden brown on both sides.

Place the fried tomatoes on a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with finishing salt. Serve immediately with Tarragon Buttermilk Ranch on the side.

For the Tarragon Buttermilk Ranch:

  • 1/2 C. buttermilk
  • 1/2 C. mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. chives, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. parsley, minced
  • 1 scallion, sliced thin
  • 1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. tarragon, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • Combine all ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use. This dressing can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.