Friday Recipe: Fried Green Tomatoes

At Kendall-Jackson, not only are we known for our amazing wines, we are also known for our heirloom tomatoes.  We have been saving heirloom tomato seeds for the past 15 years and now have over 400 varieties of seeds saved.  Each year, we plant approximately 175 heirloom varieties in our culinary gardens and invite chefs from all over to come and cook tomato-inspired dishes to pair with our wines at the annual Kendall-Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival.

It is an awesome event that usually attracts 2,500 guests who love heirloom tomatoes and wine.  And the best thing is, it’s not just a fun day of eating tomatoes and wine tasting, the event also benefits a wonderful charity, The School Garden Network.

The Tomato Festival is always fabulous and this year promises to be better than ever.  Some of this year’s highlights include:

  • Tomato-inspired tastings from over 50 gourmet food purveyors
  • Educational seminars on organic gardening, growing tomatoes and wine & food pairings
  • Live music by the Carlos Herrera Band
  • Chef’s competition featuring celebrity chefs from the popular television show, Top Chef
  • Tasting of 175 varieties of heirloom tomatoes
  • Tomato growing contest – Bring in your home-grown heirloom tomatoes to be judged by professional tomato growers.

We would love to see you at this year’s festival.  Be sure to purchase your tickets as soon as possible as this event sells out every year.

We’ve been so excited about the Tomato Festival this year that we couldn’t wait for the tomatoes to get ripe, so we just added fried green tomatoes to our Reserve Wine & Food Pairing. We serve them with the new Avant Chardonnay and the pairing is exceptional.  The green, sour flavor of the early tomatoes and the refreshing acidity and long, fruit finish of the Avant Chardonnay makes an incredible pairing.  Below is our recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes with Tarragon Buttermilk Ranch.  Enjoy!

Fried Green Tomatoes with Tarragon Buttermilk Ranch
Serve with Kendall-Jackson Avant Chardonnay
Serves 4

For the fried green tomatoes:

  • 2 large unripe green tomatoes, sliced ½ -inch thick
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup neutral flavored oil
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. good sea salt, for plating


  1. In a medium sized bowl, soak the tomatoes in the buttermilk and set aside.
  2. Heat a 12-inch cast skillet over medium-high heat and add oil.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the remaining dry ingredients, except for the sea salt.  Using tongs or a fork, remove the tomato slices from the buttermilk and coat with the cornmeal-flour mixture.  Place the tomato slices in the cast iron skillet with the oil and fry until golden brown on both sides.
  4. Place the fried tomatoes on a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with finishing salt.  Serve immediately with Tarragon Buttermilk Ranch on the side.

For the Tarragon Buttermilk Ranch:

  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. chives, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. parsley, minced
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp. granulated garlic
  • ¼ tsp. celery salt
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. tarragon, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  This dressing can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.