Before the fall officially starts, we’re looking to the South to leverage the last gifts of summer. We’ve partnered with Vivian Howard of A Chef’s Life to bring you recipes, ideas, and tips inspired by the region’s cooking traditions.
Apple butter and fried green tomatoes are Southern staples, but not necessarily things you think of eating together. Apple butter on toast? Yes. On a fried green tomato? No. Pimento cheese and bacon on green tomatoes? Yes. With arugula, apple and cheddar? No.
But from my perspective, apples and green tomatoes are both early fall ingredients, and a great match. Often at my restaurant we treat green tomatoes like a crostini or a cracker—a delivery mechanism for a spread or creamy cheese. Here, I’m treating it like a crouton: the crunchy, satisfying counterpoint to a boldly flavored salad.
The salad and the green tomato work together because they sit on top of a sweet and spicy apple butter that weds the two. The aged cheddar helps, too. If you’ve got leftovers, apple butter mounted with Dijon mustard is a condiment capable of marrying many things, and shouldn’t be overlooked when you need a steak sauce, a companion for chicken or a slather for ribs.