Winter in Sydney is nothing to be sneezed at. It looks a little like… this:

While the UK and New York swelter under the sweaty weight of a full summer, Sydney’s southern seasons still feel a little alien and wrong. It’s strange to be walking barefoot on sand, amid 20 C sunshine and still see parsnips and kale on special in the shops. Though, after three frosty British winters, I shouldn’t really complain.

For those among you enjoying the full glee of summer, I present you this.

This dish takes me straight to Miami beach; that’s a town that knows how to celebrate summer properly (and also doesn’t fare too poorly in the off season). The first time I ate a version of it was at Yardbird– seven blocks back from the beach- and the perfect place to fritter away an afternoon with a pitcher of sweet tea (bourbon optional). If, like me, you’re not in Miami and are still impatiently waiting for the full glory of summer’s tomato bounty, this is a good way to put any lackluster specimens to good use.

It’s everything you love about a BLT, without the boring bulk of bread. There’s the salt of bacon, warmth of Tabasco boosted mayonnaise and gentle freshness of frisee. I like to add a little crumbled feta for salt and some spring onions for a light peppery kick. It’s smart enough to be plated individually as a starter, but to me, the best way to serve it is as one long platter that’s passed around a table, with some grilled chicken legs and corn on the cob on the side.

To me it’s sheer happiness on a plate; the edible equivalent of  a beach day with a new purchase of a jaunty hat. Essentially; it’s all that is good.

Fried Green Tomato ‘BLTS’

Serves 4-6

(First published on Design Sponge)

Ingredients

4 green, or just-ripe medium tomatoes
3/4 cup of self raising flour
1/4 cup of polenta/cornmeal
3/4 cup of Greek yoghurt
1/4 cup of milk
1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs

4 strips of smoked bacon, crisped and cut into batons
40 grams of feta, crumbled
2 spring onions, finely diced
4 tbsp of mayonnaise
1-2 tsp Tobasco sauce
I large head of frisee lettuce.

1/2- 1 cup of vegetable or peanut oil for shallow frying

Method

1) Set up three bowls. In one bowl place your breadcrumbs. In the second mix together the yoghurt and the milk. In the third bowl mix together the flour and the cornmeal.

2) Slice your tomatoes horizontally into slices 1-1.5 cm thick, discarding the top and bottom and stem. Season with a little salt and set aside for a few minutes. This will help draw extra liquid out of them.

3) Drain the tomatoes of the liquid. Heat your oil in a high sided pan until it makes a bread crumb sizzle.

4) Keeping one hand clean, place a tomato slice in the milk/yoghurt mix.

4) Transfer to the flour/cornmeal.

5) Transfer back into the milk/yoghurt and then dredge in the breadcrumbs.

6) Fry each tomato slice until each side is crisp and golden.

 

7) Drain on paper towel and then transfer to a low oven to keep warm while you repeat with the remaining slices.

8) To make the salad combine the frisee with the crisped bacon, chopped scallions and crumbled feta. Top with a few of the fried green tomatoes. Mix together the mayonnaise with the tabasco- if you like things hotter, add a little more. Drizzle over the top and serve straight away.  This can either be plated individually, or on a long platter for sharing.

For more on Miami; see 24 hours in Miami, here.