To whet your appetite for
The Pitch's annual Best of Kansas City issue, we're counting down our favorite Top 50 dishes each weekday until October 7.
Fried green tomatoes have become a very fashionable starter lately. The upscale Webster House serves its version of the Southern side dish as an appetizer with creamed spinach and tomato chutney. The Louisiana-style nightclub-restaurant Fat Fish Blue offers the crunchy tomato slices with collard greens and a Cajun-spiced mayonnaise.
The healthiest way to enjoy this dish is as an ingredient in a light, summery salad -- like the one created by Cafe Roux owner Jen Coniglio and her culinary consultant Jason Czaja. Surrounded by fresh greens, bits of fluffy goat cheese, almonds and a tart green-onion vinaigrette, it makes the lowly unripe tomato seem almost elegant.
There are recipes for fried green tomatoes (mostly in Midwestern cookbooks, interestingly enough) dating back to the early 1900s. But writer-actress Fannie Flagg, the author of the popular 1987 novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, has said that the dish really came into its own during the Great Depression, when poor Southerners "would fry up most anything and pretend it was meat or fish."
Green tomatoes can be a little tart, but most are flavorless -- the green-onion vinaigrette in the salad gives the fried fruit its extra punch.
Our list so far:
No. 50: Chocolate Malt from Fox's Drug Store
No. 49: Il Parma from Bella Napoli
No. 48: Italian sausage and eggs from Cascone's Grill
No. 47: Orange Roll from Clock Tower Bakery
No. 46: Tacos de cochinita from Frida's Contemporary Mexican Cuisine
No. 45: Barbecued pork bun from 888 International Market
No. 44: Tableside fresh mozzarella from Jasper's
No. 43: Gyro Sandwich from Mr. Gyros Greek Food & Pastry
No. 42: Apple strudel from Grunauer
No. 41: Rice noodle bowl from dim sum at Bo Lings
No. 40: E-Crush from Hi-Hat Coffee
No. 39: Flight of Freshness from Fresher than Fresh Snow Cones
No. 38: Curried chicken salad from Cafe Provence
No. 37: Apple fritter from John's Space Age Donuts
No. 36: Pollo con limone e olive from Lidia's Kansas City
No. 35: Wedding-cake cookie from LattéLand
No. 34: Stroud's cinnamon rolls
No. 33: Smoked Polish from Werner's
No. 32: Burger and frites from Westport Cafe & Bar
No. 31: Paletas from Paleterias Tropicana
No. 30: Goat korma at New Cafe Tandoor
No. 29: Lemon cake from Cafe Europa
No. 28: Chocolate Mousse Torte from Napoleon Bakery
No. 27: Spring rolls from Vietnam Cafe
No. 26: French fries from LC's Bar-B-Q
No. 25: Classic Cookie's herbed-potato-and-sausage casserole
No 24: Farmer greens salad at The Farmhouse
No. 23: Egg salad sandwich from You Say Tomato
No. 22: Waldorf Salad from Bloomsbury Bistro
No. 21: Pork tenderloin sandwich from Kitty's Cafe
No. 20: Root beer from Mugs Up Drive In
No. 19: Flank steak sandwich from Happy Gillis
No. 18: Chicken Picatta from the Hereford House
No. 17: Mom's Macaroni and Cheese from McCoy's Public House