Fried Green Tomatoes with Panko and Parmesan

July 29, 2011
4 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

There are some southern foods, like biscuits and corn pudding, that have gained such a heightened perfection in our minds that we shy away from them in the kitchen. Fried green tomatoes are like that. We know how we’ve been taught to like them – edges crisp and gritty with cornmeal, and tangy succulent bellies – and if we don’t know how to achieve this, then why make them at all?

So I confess. As a Yankee, I threw caution to the wind and bastardized the hell out of my green tomatoes. Instead of a flour or cornmeal coating, I went for a jagged cloak of panko and Parmesan, which crisped beautifully and tasted deliciously of toasted, nutty cheese. Although I did follow one Southern trick, learned from Beans, Greens, Sweet Georgia Peaches – to not only salt the tomatoes in advance, but also sugar them, too. Half an hour before cooking, you add this seasoning combo, which draws out some of the moisture and also balances the tart sting of a green tomato with a nod of sweetness. One last cheat: I turned to my non-stick pan over my cast-iron. I didn’t want even a crumb of the crust to be left attached to the pan and not in my mouth. —Amanda Hesser

What You'll Need
  • 4 medium green tomatoes, cored and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more if needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Lay the tomato slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle generously (like you’re seasoning a steak) with both salt and sugar. Turn over the slices and season the other sides. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Have a large non-stick sauté pan on the stove. Add the beaten egg to a wide shallow bowl. Combine the panko and Parmesan in another wide shallow bowl. Set them near the stove. Lay the tomato slices on paper towel, top with another layer of paper towel and press on the tomatoes to dry them well. Season the slices again with a little salt. Working one at a time, dip the tomatoes in egg, then the panko-Parmesan mixture. Really press and pat the panko into the tomatoes. Set the tomatoes on a clean baking sheet.
  3. Heat the sauté pan over medium-high heat, and add the olive oil and butter. When the foam subsides, add the tomatoes, enough to cover the base of the pan in a single layer. Let them be for a few minutes and when you see browning on the egde, check the tomatoes. You want a nut brown crust. Turn them and brown the other side. Keep working in batches, adding more oil and butter to the pan as needed, and transfer the tomatoes to a warm serving platter. Grind (coarsely!) fresh pepper on top, sprinkle with extra cheese, and serve!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • saramarsh
  • K.Mihalo
  • Mulzee
  • Donecia
  • Bellesmom
Amanda Hesser

Recipe by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.

32 Reviews

Maeghansma August 25, 2023
Prepared this exactly as the recipe called for and put a roasted garlic aioli on the side. Great summertime favorite!
Mwhite0915 September 12, 2020
These were the best fried green tomatoes I’ve ever had.
Amanda H. September 13, 2020
So glad to hear this!!
LULULAND December 13, 2018
I wanted to use our green tomatoes that had to be taken before the frost. I looked at a few recipes as I haven't make fried green tomatoes before. I didn't have panko bread crumbs so I used 1/2 flour and 1/2 cornmeal. Other than that I stayed with the recipe. Yum, so sweet and yet crispy and fresh tasting. I make chili relleno omelets and oven crisped potatoes with flour tortillas. Hubbie loved it!
Amanda H. September 13, 2020
What a delicious sounding meal!
Mary July 19, 2017
I forgot to say "Thank you!"!
Amanda H. July 19, 2017
You're welcome! Really glad you liked the tomatoes. I made them two nights ago, as well!
Mary July 19, 2017
Yum! Just had them for dinner.
saramarsh October 18, 2015
I rescued my green tomatoes from the first frost last night, currently they're resting in salt and sugar, I can't wait to fry them up!
saramarsh October 18, 2015
Update? I used my cast iron and all was good! I shared these with my neighbors and the decree is they are awesome!
Amanda H. October 18, 2015
Whoop! So glad to hear this!
K.Mihalo July 23, 2015
This changed my green tomato life.
Mulzee March 20, 2014
I just made this tonight and it was delicious. Brilliant idea to have parmiggiano with the panko. Thank you!
Amanda H. March 20, 2014
Glad you liked it!
learnoff September 22, 2013
This was amazing! I did do the suggestion of lightly dredging in flour first than the egg than the panko parm cheese mixture. I didn't find the crust too thick. I did have to add extra oil however. I will definitely be making this again, but i still need other suggestions for what to do with the loads of green tomatoes I harvested today!
Amanda H. September 22, 2013
Glad you liked it, and that all worked out!
Donecia September 5, 2013
I wait all winter for green tomatoes to appear in the market for fried green tomatoes! I have never used the sugar and I dredge them in flour before the egg then panko but this recipe sounds really wonderful! Can't wait to try it!
Amanda H. September 5, 2013
You can do flour-egg-panko if you're more comfortable. You'll end up with a slightly thicker coating but it will cling better, certainly.
Bellesmom September 4, 2013
This recipe may convert me over from the red tomatoes to the 'green'...question: watching salt due to High blood pressure...any substitute?
Amanda H. September 5, 2013
You can skip the salt, no problem!
wildwildwest July 14, 2014
My internal medicine doc told me that very few people have the genetic propensity in regards to salt and high blood pressure. See:
Chef S. September 4, 2013
Is the recipies I use, but I add oregano,dried, with tha salt ans sugar. Is great, my grandmother used to make it, but She was from NYC...
JanetFL August 1, 2012
This is the only way that I will ever make fried green tomatoes again. You have converted a Southerner, Amanda!
Amanda H. August 1, 2012
Wow -- never expected I could convert a Southerner!
boulangere August 17, 2011
One of my favorite childhood memories.
Amanda H. August 18, 2011
Lucky childhood.
babs03 August 17, 2011
This is a wonderful dish. I loved the creamy flavor matched with the crunchy texture. Worked perfectly with week old fried green tomatoes.
Amanda H. August 18, 2011
Glad it worked out -- I like a good crisp coating.
babs03 August 17, 2011
This is a wonderful dish. I loved the creamy flavor matched with the crunchy texture. Worked perfectly with week old fried green tomates.
Sigita July 31, 2011
Delicious even with red tomatoes - and I would add some chopped fresh basil to the panko/parm mixture. The fresh pepper was necessary at the end too. I will certainly make this again.
CheriDawn July 29, 2011
Nice! I am going to have to try this.
Sagegreen July 29, 2011
Go Yankees! What a great variation this is.