I have a mild obsession with green tomatoes. Would that I could attribute this to childhood summers spent sipping sweet tea on a veranda under spanish moss…but that’s just not the case. I’m not even remotely southern.
(This is where my mother would jump in to remind me that her dad was born in Texas, and I would rebut that he was not from the verandas and spanish moss part of Texas, so there.)
The fact of the matter is that I never even knew people ate them before I saw Fried Green Tomatoes, which has been on my desert island movie list since I was about 13. Idgie was my hero, and in turn I was obsessed with figuring out how to make delicious fried green tomatoes.
It took a few years of experimenting to get my recipe just right. This was during the time in my life I considered AOL cutting edge, so the internet wasn’t much help. I also had only a very short window each year where I could get my hands on green tomatoes, much to my dad (the gardener)’s consternation. Seriously seasonal.
But I’m not here to talk about fried green tomatoes. Oh, I love them. Someday if you’re lucky you’ll taste mine. But recently I found myself with a bunch of beautiful green lovelies, and no desire to fry them. I saw a recipe in Cook’s Illustrated for a green tomato chutney, and was immediately intrigued. So I made some, and I’m so glad I did.
The original recipe called for white sugar and white vinegar. I try to avoid using white sugar whenever possible, so I used honey with a squirt of agave nectar for pizazz (the world won’t end if you don’t have agave nectar).
Using plain old white vinegar seemed like a wasted opportunity to add flavor, so I subbed in the apple cider. Overall this was a good choice, but when I make this again I’ll probably put a tablespoon or two of white vinegar in to add a smidge more bite to the finished chutney.
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated (Sept. 2010)
1 lb green tomatoes, chopped
½ onion, chopped
1/3 cup honey
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
½ tsp ground coriander (use whole if you have it. I didn’t.)
½ tsp salt
pinch (or more) red pepper flakes
2 tsp lemon juice
The process here isn’t rocket science. Chop up the veggies and thrown them in a pot with everything else on the list except the lemon juice. Bring it to a simmer and let it cook down for about 40 minutes; you’ll know it’s done when it thickens up a bit and smells awesome. Add the lemon juice when you take it off the heat.
Let it cool a bit and then put it on everything! Leftovers will stay happy in the fridge for a couple weeks…but if you’re feeling especially adventurous, you can fill some jars and process to make it shelf stable (if you’re going to can things, please consult a reliable resource before diving in).
I can vouch for this being delicious on eggs, german style sausages, and on crusty bread with a little goat cheese. I hear it also pairs nicely with pork.