Fried Green Tomato with Country Ham and Beer Cheese Mornay
Yields 16 pieces
from Chef Kathy Cary, owner of Lilly's in Louisville, Kentucky
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
2 ounces Tabasco
2 cups buttermilk
4 green tomatoes, sliced and with the center cut to size of a half-dollar coin
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
¾ cup milk
¾ cup beer, PBR preferred
5 ounces white sharp cheddar cheese, grated
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ cup grapeseed oil, plus 1 teaspoon to sauté ham
1 cup seasoned flour (recipe follows)
⅓ pound country ham, cut to same half-dollar-coin size as tomatoes
1 tablespoon capers
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon coastal California fennel pollen rub
Whisk the Old Bay seasoning and Tabasco into the buttermilk.
Place coined tomatoes in a bowl and cover with buttermilk mixture.
Melt butter in a pot on the stove.
Add flour and slowly whisk in milk and beer. Let simmer for a few minutes.
Slowly add grated cheese, nutmeg, salt, and Tabasco. Stir until cheese melts.
Set aside and keep warm.
Put ¼ cup grapeseed oil into a cast iron skillet. Drain the tomatoes and toss them in the seasoned flour. Heat oil to degrees. Cook the tomatoes until golden brown, then flip to other side. When browned, remove and place on paper towels to drain.
In another skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 teaspoon of grapeseed oil. Add the coin-size disks of ham to the skillet and quickly sauté until warm.
Arrange the tomatoes on a serving platter. Top with ham coins and garnish with a dollop of Mornay and a caper on top. Serve warm.
Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container until ready to use.