A traditional Southern favorite that comes to life from my late-season garden

Published: Monday, Oct. 5 2015 4:36 p.m. MDT

Belle's Fried Green Tomatoes (Brenda Stanley) Belle's Fried Green Tomatoes (Brenda Stanley)

Ever since I moved to the country, I’ve become more aware of the life going on around me. I love watching the deer, birds and other wildlife, and I see the land as a provider of so many things. My garden is my pride and joy. It provides vegetables, fruits and flowers as well as my own special type of mental health. I call it dirt therapy.

Now that cooler weather is here and the nights have frozen the life out of my garden, I scramble to harvest the last of what is still viable. One of the most wonderful things to emerge is my huge beefsteak tomatoes that are still dense and completely green.

Most people would be disappointed that those tomatoes didn’t reach their peak, but not me. They are perfect for one of my favorite Southern dishes — Fried Green Tomatoes.

The flavor and texture is a combination of sweet, salty and crunchy. They are perfect for a side dish or a light meal. Slice some up and you’ll see how quick these unripe beauties disappear.

Belle’s Fried Green Tomatoes

4 large green tomatoes, sliced ½ inch thick

½ cup corn meal

½ cup seasoned bread crumbs

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 egg

½ cup milk

Vegetable oil for frying

Mix together the corn meal, bread crumbs and seasonings. In another bowl beat the egg and whisk in the milk. Heat the oil to medium high in large fry pan. Dredge tomato slices in egg mixture and then in crumb mixture. Fry until golden brown on each side. Remove to paper towel-covered plates to remove excess grease.

Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of twins, and a grandmother of three. She is a cookbook author and novelist. Her website is at talesofthedinnerbelle.com.

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company