Last night was glorious. I’ve been itching to start experimenting with keto-friendly breading because fried foods have always been off-limits for me on more conventional diets I’ve been on in the past. Not that anyone out there in internet land over the age of 28 knows this feeling….
I noticed, last night, as I was preparing to NOT mess up my kitchen and make something easy and mindless, that I had a couple lonely, vine-ripened tomatoes nearing the end of their shelf-life sitting on my countertop. Being as waste-averse as I am, I knew something HAD to be done. One regret that haunts me almost daily (and this is SO small but it truly bothers me) is that I didn’t make my grandmom fried green tomatoes before she died. I don’t know why it bothers me so much, but it just does, and as a result, I haven’t made fried tomatoes of ANY color in over four years. That ended last night.
Hazel, who demanded to be permitted to mill about the kitchen as I prepared to embark on my culinary endeavor, pulled a package of portabello mushroom caps out of the fridge, so I decided to make fried tomato portabello stacks. Super easy, super yummy, super keto-friendly!
Fried Tomato Portabello Stacks
- 4 large portabello mushroom caps, destemmed
- 6 tbs ghee, melted, plus 2 tbs for sauteeing the spinach
- about 1/4 to 1/3 c chosen frying fat (I use ghee here too, because I trust ghee to remain stable to a really high temp -475, degrees to be exact – which is fabulous for a scatterbrain like myself, who tends to let things chill on their own a touch too long. I find a forgiving oil yields positive results for that small minority of us who aren’t perfect.)
- 4 c baby spinach
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbs shallot, minced
- 1/8-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 egg
- 2 tbs heavy cream
- 3 tbs coconut flour
- 3 tbs almond meal
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
- 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
- several grinds of crushed black pepper
- 4 thick slices of tomatoes on the vine, patted as dry as possible
- 4 tbs whole fat mozzarella
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Brush or rub the tops of the mushroom caps with a good amount of ghee. Place them on a cookie sheet gills up, then drizzle with the remaining melted ghee and give them a good salt. Stick those in the oven for, mmmmm, 15 minutes ish, until good and roasted lookin’.
- While you’re waiting for the mushrooms to roast, get the tomatoes going. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and the heavy cream. In another small bowl, whisk the coconut flour, almond meal, garlic powder, spices, salt, and black pepper. In a very small sauce pan or skillet over medium high heat, dump the fry fat and make sure it melts down to maybe a centimeter deep or so. Much more than that and I feel like it’s a waste of money for 4 slices of tomatoes. (I mean, you could theoretically double this recipe with the same fry fat, too, and get more money’s worth, but be careful not to keep frying stuff in dirty oil for the sake of penny-pinching, because the finished product will begin to taste off. Part of what makes these tomatoes good is that you’re presumably frying them in tasty, healthy oil like ghee or bacon fat, so you don’t want to also put in the flavor of burnt breading.) While you’re waiting for it to reach the desired temp, dredge your first tomato slice in the egg mixture and then the flour and spices mixture (make sure to pat that stuff on there so you get a good coating goin’ on). Check the oil’s heat by putting a tiny drop of water in there and see that it cracks back at you. If it doesn’t seriously crackle to where you jump back, give it a little more time or a little more heat. Once it’s up to temp, start to fry the breaded tomato slices, one by one. I don’t have a set amount of time that takes, but I will say that 1. it doesn’t take long, so gently use a fork to lift the slice and check, 2. check and flip GENTLY or you’ll end up scraping off the crust. Once both sides of a slice are fried, transfer them onto an oven-safe pan or cookie sheet. After they’re all fried off, stick that cookie sheet in the oven with the mushroom caps.
- While the ‘shrooms and ‘maters are in the oven, take ANOTHER pan, a large skillet (the number of pans here is kinda annoying, but nothing seems to have time to really stick so it’s not actually too bad in terms of clean up), and heat the last 2 tbs of ghee over medium high heat. Toast up the red pepper flakes, minced garlic, and shallot for about a minute, and then toss in the baby spinach and a crank or two of Himalayan sea salt and black pepper. Sautee until just wilted (don’t overkill) and set aside.
- Take out the shrooms and maters. Place 1/4 of the baby spinach evenly onto the mushrooms, then top that with a slice each of fried tomato, then take that handy-dandy mozzarella and put a tbs on top of each tomato. Turn the oven to broil, place them in there to melt the cheese, and remove when the cheese has little brown, toasty spots on it (ovens seem to vary with how long this takes, so keep a close eye.
- That’s it! I served these with brussel sprouts au gratin, but didn’t post this recipe yet because I want to try it again with a few tweaks before I call it marketable.
Time: about 30 minutes
Serves: 4 (or 2 if you just eat them on their own)
…(or 1 if you’re my husband)