When I arrived home, there were several green tomatoes in the kitchen to greet me. My father had recently had a wonderful fried green tomato dish in Charleston and my mother wanted my help in recreating it. It had involved pimento cheese so we decided to make fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese from scratch to complement the sliders she was preparing.
For the fried green tomatoes, I used a recipe she had found on The Food Network website, courtesy of The Neelys, whoever they may be. It wasn't my first time making fried green tomatoes but the use of panko instead of cornmeal intrigued me. I followed the recipe, finding it easiest to set up workstation right next to the stove so I could dredge the tomato through each bowl quickly.
The panko crust was light and airy, overall I think I'll continue to use panko as at least part of my coating in the future. They could have used more flavor, perhaps a heartier pinch of cayenne and more black pepper.
For the pimento cheese, I found recipes right and left. I combined one I found in Bon Appétit from Parker and Otis in Durham with one found the day of the cooking in The Charlotte Observer. I'm having trouble finding the article online, but the Observer credited the recipe to "An Irresistible History of Southern Food" by Rick McDaniel.
Pimento Cheese Recipe
16 oz (roughly 4 cups grated) sharp yellow cheddar cheese
4 oz drained, chopped pimientos
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
fresh ground black pepper to taste
Grate cheese coarsely. Add rest of ingredients, stir to mix. Let sit to incorporate (in refridgerator) for about 30 minutes before serving. Great warm or cold.