Cooks Exchange

It’s fresh vegetables time on the Coast

Fried green tomatoes are a favorite this time of year.
Fried green tomatoes are a favorite this time of year. Sun Herald File

Fresh vegetables, there is nothing like them: green and red tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, corn and the bounty goes on.

A small vegetable and fruit stand set up in front of a Long Beach home is not too far from my house.

It reminds me of street markets where patrons can buy whatever is fresh that day. I have been doing this for the past week. What fun and what good eating.

Coast farmers’ markets are good for this, too, and there are at least four or more of those set up in a different town each week. U-pick farms are open, too. Some charge as little as $10 for a 5-gallon bucket of vegetables. Yes, shoppers pick their own, but kids and grandkids enjoy picking, too. It’s good training, and they are more likely to eat what they pick.

Some church friends, Elyssa, Lilly and I went last year, and bought so much that we had fresh vegetables most of the year. I simply blanched the veggies, packed in freezer bags and stuck them in the freezer.

All of us are planning another trip either to Lucedale or to Wiggins now that the rains have stopped.

None of us wanted to bog down in mud.

Fresh vegetables are available, so cooks can take advantage of these seasonal offerings.

Since green tomatoes are in season, I thought I would share some recipes that put them to good use.

Personally, I love fried green tomatoes. Yes, I know they are fried, but we do them in the deep fryer, which cooks quickly, and drain them on paper towels.

They don’t sit in grease long, but, yes, they are still fried. I make a homemade remoulade to top the tomatoes. Sometimes I add boiled shrimp or lump crabmeat on top of the remoulade, depending on how tight the budget is.

I use both cornmeal and flour for the tomatoes. I like the crisp results. Also, we like ours with a kick, so I add Cajun/Creole seasoning, black pepper, garlic powder and salt, which I mix in with the batter and the cornmeal-flour mixture.

“Shrimp Boats are a Comin’ ”

Since shrimp season is here, I found some old Biloxi shrimp recipes in a pamphlet published in the 1970s, I believe, by Peoples Bank. I love these because they are from longtime Biloxi families that know their seafood.

In this pamphlet, Biloxi is called the Playground of Mississippi. I decided on barbecued shrimp by Mrs. Tony Rosetti and shrimp salad by Mrs. Frank Kovacevich, both feature the pure taste of fresh shrimp.

Wanted: Vrazel’s Recipe

Reader Ann Brown is seeking another treasured Coast shrimp recipe, shrimp and heart of artichoke Teresa that was served at the now-closed Vrazel’s restaurant in Gulfport.

“Would you please see if you can get the recipe from Bill Vrazel?” she asked. “It was Gulf shrimp dipped in garlic butter and served over a rich, baked casserole of artichoke hearts, baby shrimp and Parmesan cheese. It was my favorite of all their many delicious items on the menu.”

Andrea Yeager can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net and Cooks Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES

2 large green tomatoes, rinsed and sliced about 1/4-inch thick

1 egg

1/2 cup milk or more to make a good batter

1 cup cornmeal

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Divide these seasonings between the batter and the cornmeal-flour mixture:

1 teaspoon salt

Black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Cajun seasoning, to taste

Oil for frying

Mix egg and milk together, add seasonings. Mix cornmeal and flour together. Add seasonings to that mixture. (I use paper plates, so any remaining batter or meal can be tossed.)

Dip tomato slices in egg-milk liquid then into cornmeal-flour mix. You can dip back into the liquid, but I like a thinner crust on my tomatoes. Fry at 350 degrees in deep fryer or in deep Dutch oven on stove top. Make sure to bring oil to 350 degrees before frying the first tomato slice.

Can be eaten plain or topped with remoulade sauce.

REMOULADE SAUCES

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 sour cream

1/4 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon sweet relish

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons minced onion

Cajun seasoning, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

1/2 teaspoon or more Sriracha hot sauce

1 teaspoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Mix all ingredients, taste for spiciness and chill. Can be served with the fried green tomatoes or with boiled shrimp or crab salad.

CHOW-CHOW

1 quart finely chopped green tomatoes

3 cup finely chopped cabbage

1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper

1/4 cup salt

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 teaspoon mustard seed

1 teaspoon horseradish

1 cup vinegar

Sprinkle layers of tomatoes, cabbage, onion and green pepper with salt. Let stand overnight. In the morning, squeeze the vegetables dry.

Add the other ingredients and mix well. Pour into clean jars and cover. Keep in refrigerator. This relish will keep 2 or 3 weeks. Makes 4 cups.

Submitted by Flora Mauffray of Bay St. Louis in 1999

BARBECUED BILOXI SHRIMP

5 pounds headless raw shrimp

1 pound melted butter

5 cloves garlic (minced)

Paprika, salt, pepper

5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons Tabasco

Juice of 1 lemon

Sauté over slow fire for 1 1/2 to 2 hours in heavy skillet or in oven in shallow, heavy open pan. Good as a cocktail with red sauce or serve as main entrée.

Mrs. Tony Rosetti

BILOXI SHRIMP SALAD

5 pounds boiled shrimp

2 dozen hard-boiled eggs

6 chopped green sweet peppers

1 (8-ounce) jar sweet mixed pickles chopped

1 bunch chopped green onions with tops

Salt and pepper to taste

1 pint mayonnaise

2 cups chopped celery

Mix the mayonnaise, the chopped onions, peppers, pickles, celery and the yellow of the eggs, saving three or four.

Chop the shrimp and whites of the eggs and add to the mixture. Serve on lettuce leaves garnished with slices of the remaining eggs and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Mrs. Frank Kovacevich

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