Food & Drink

Chef Ann Kim’s Fried Green Tomatoes

The Garden & Gun Club chef offers up the basics for the iconic Southern hors d’oeuvre

Photo: Amy Sinclair

The Club's fried green tomatoes, garnished with jumbo lump crab salad and citrus. The recipe below offers a simple make-at-home version.

At the Garden & Gun Club in Atlanta, chef Ann Kim has given many of the South’s most quintessential dishes—country fried pork chops and shrimp and grits among them—her own spin. So, Kim says, it was only natural that a fried green tomato recipe made its way onto the Club’s latest menu. Plus, she says, “It helps that green tomatoes are basically available all year-round.” While the restaurant’s version comes topped with jumbo lump crab salad, Kim encourages home chefs to first master the dish’s main components: the crispy fried base and the smoky, mayo-based dipping sauce. 

To give the green tomatoes a rich flavor and maximum crunch, Kim uses a buttermilk dredge and a cornmeal coating. “Southern cooks know that cornmeal makes things super crispy, but it works especially well with tomatoes since they have a higher water content,” she says. As for that dipping sauce? “I’ve always found that the best sauces start with Duke’s mayo. Mine calls for smoked tomatoes, but as long as you start with Duke’s, you could really throw anything in the bowl and it’ll come out tasting delicious.” For those short on time, Kim says you can sidestep smoking the tomatoes by adding a few drops of liquid smoke, available at the grocery store, to the mixture instead.


  • Fried Green Tomatoes (Yield: 2–3 servings)

    • 4 cups yellow cornmeal

    • 1 cup cornstarch

    • 2 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning

    • 2 cups buttermilk

    • 2 tbsp. Crystal hot sauce (or any preferred)

    • Zest of 1 lemon

    • 4 cups vegetable oil

    • 2 green tomatoes, sliced to desired thickness (¼ inch suggested)

  • For the Smoked Tomato Mayonnaise

    • 6 tomatoes

    • 2 cups Duke’s mayonnaise (or any preferred)

    • Juice of ½ lemon

    • 1 tsp. salt

    • 1 tsp. sugar


  1. For the fried green tomatoes: In a small bowl, mix cornmeal, cornstarch, and Old Bay seasoning until combined. In another small bowl, mix the buttermilk, hot sauce, and lemon zest until combined. 

  2. In a deep cast-iron skillet or a small pot, heat oil to 350°F. While oil is heating, dip tomato slices in the buttermilk mixture, then transfer to the cornmeal dredge.

  3. Once oil is heated, gently drop in the coated tomato slices. Fry for about one minute, then flip. Remove tomatoes and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

  4. Serve with sauce while hot.

  5. For the smoked tomato mayonnaise: Preheat the oven to 200°F. 

  6. Place six tomatoes, seeds removed, on a baking sheet and smoke for one hour. Let cool. 

  7. Combine smoked tomatoes, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and sugar in a food processor and puree until smooth.