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A whole lotta South in your mouth.
In honor of this post I thought long and hard about what dish to share with y'all. Fred suggested I make something I've never made before, in the spirit of the unknown road ahead (very Robert Frost of him). I wanted to do something that represents what is happening with food here in LA then and now, so to speak, and food that signifies where I'm from and where I'm going: The South.

I settled on what I will call a Low Country Benedict: fried green tomatoes with Smithfield ham, poached eggs and a pimiento cheese hollandaise. Oddly, I have never made fried green tomatoes. And this summer my fecund garden is bursting with tomatoes – red, yellow, orange and green. When I think of eggs Benedict I think of the LA from the eighties, think LA Story and people lingering over coffee, mimosas and bloody marys and fancy, bougie French fare wearing sunglasses, white linen and big hats. That said, southern food is so, so, very, very en vogue here in LA (and everywhere) right now. Think Willie Jane and The Hart and the Hunter's entire menu, , A-Frame's fried chicken picnic, Son of a Gun's pimiento cheese with Ritz crackers, Lucques' annual rib-fest, everyone's deviled eggs, and so on. And perhaps most obviously, fried green tomatoes are, and have been for quite some time, very prominent in the south.

Posted by Elliott S. Published See Elliott S.'s 7 projects »
  • Step 1

    Makes 4 servings


    4 thin slices of Smithfield ham
    2 tablespoons chopped chives, for garnish
    4 eggs
    2 teaspoons white or rice vinegar
    4 large slices of fried green tomatoes
    Salt & freshly cracked pepper

    Pimiento Cheese Hollandaise

    8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
    4 egg yolks
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    4 teaspoons powdered cheddar cheese (found in your standard mac n' cheese package)
    1 4 ounce jar of pimientos, chopped
    Dash of cayenne or tabasco
    Dash of Worcestershire sauce
    Salt to taste


    Start with the fried green tomatoes. Recipe below. Once they're cooked, keep them in the oven on warm until you're ready to assemble the dish.

    Next bring a large saucepan two-thirds-filled with water to a boil, then add the vinegar. Bring the water to a boil again, then lower the heat to a bare simmer.

    Make the pimiento cheese hollandaise. Vigorously whisk together egg yolks and lemon juice in a stainless steel bowl until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler); the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat, whisk in powdered cheese a teaspoon at a time, Worcestershire sauce and cayenne. Stir in the pimientos. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use for the eggs Benedict. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving. Salt to taste

    Poach the eggs. Here is an easy method for poaching eggs. Essentially, working one egg at a time, crack an egg into a small bowl and slip into the barely simmering water. Once it begins to solidify, slip in another egg, until you have all four cooking. Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let sit for 4 minutes. (Remember which egg went in first, you'll want to take it out first.) When it comes time to remove the eggs, gently lift out with a slotted spoon. Note that the timing is a little variable on the eggs, depending on the size of your pan, how much water, how many eggs, and how runny you like them. You might have to experiment a little with your set-up to figure out what you need to do to get the eggs exactly the way you like them.

    Gently remove the eggs from the poaching water and set in a bowl.

    To assemble the eggs Benedict, put two fried green tomatoes on each plate and top each with a thin slice of Smithfield ham. You can trim the ham to fit the tomato if you’d like. Put a poached egg on top of the ham, pour hollandaise over. Top with sprinkles of chives and fresh cracked black pepper. Serve at once.

    Fried Green Tomatoes


    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
    1/2 cup cornmeal
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon pepper
    1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    3 medium-size green tomatoes, cut into 1/3-inch slices
    Vegetable oil
    Bacon drippings
    Salt to taste


    Combine egg and buttermilk; set aside.

    Combine 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes, and pepper in a shallow bowl or pan.
    Dredge tomato slices in remaining 1/4 cup flour; dip in egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture.

    Pour oil/bacon dripping to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch in a large cast-iron skillet; heat to 375°. Drop tomatoes, in batches, into hot oil, and cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels or a rack. Sprinkle hot tomatoes with salt.

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