During my travels this Summer, I had an opportunity to make a stop along the Gulf Shores, in Biloxi, Mississippi. While staying at the Beau Rivage, I dined at The Buffet, for lunch and was presently surprised at how fresh and inviting the food was.
Yes, I know what you are thinking…. “all casinos have buffets.” But not this buffet. Forget the tired old image and experience a line-up of creations that rivals the best restaurants on the Gulf Coast. No wonder savvy locals consistently choose The Buffet for weekend brunch and holiday dinners. The variety is unparalleled, and so is the quality.
Take your time and sample enticing flavors from around the globe; succulent meats carved or grilled to your specifications; made-to-order pastas and omelets; classic comfort food, including down home Southern-style favorites; plus, the most bountiful fresh seafood and salads available anywhere. And the desserts? Well, you will just have to try one. Or several. Now, this is a real buffet!
Anyways, I have digressed…….
For me, the star of the buffet were the Panko Fried Green Tomatoes. They were absolutely to die for. Panko bread crumbs have a coarser texture than ordinary bread crumbs, which you can also use to coat the tomatoes. Yet, the panko crumbs gave the fried tomatoes a uniquely light and crispy texture and they were seasoned with just the right amount of fresh herbs too.
I re-created this quintessential Southern side dish and the results were pretty close to the ones I had while visiting the Gulf Shores.
Makes 8 to 10 Servings
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄2 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Kosher salt, to taste
Cracked black pepper, to taste
2 cups Japanese panko bread crumbs
5 medium green tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
Canola oil, for deep-fat frying
In a large bowl, combine the , flour, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, parsley and thyme together.
In shallow bowl gently beat the eggs and the buttermilk together.
In another shallow bowl, add the panko bread crumbs. Dip the tomato slices in flour, followed by the egg mixture, and then coat the tomatoes with the panko bread crumbs, gently pressing the breadcrumbs into the slices of tomatoes, coating both sides well.
Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet, to 375° F. Fry tomatoes, a few at a time, for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crispy. Carefully remove the tomatoes and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Serve immediately with hot pepper sauce, lemon or ranch dressing.