Farmers' Market Salad with Crab-Stuffed Fried Green Tomato "Croutons" and Lemon–Vanilla Vinaigrette

Jim Foss

Pitmaster Hospitality, Leesburg, VA

“This salad is truly reflective of seasonal availability and what is extremely fresh in your local markets,” said chef Jim Foss. “I change many of the vegetable components to reflect seasonal availability and urge you to do the same.” He served these fried green tomatoes as an appetizer at his dinner at the Beard House, but the whole salad makes for a nice first course.


Stuffed Tomatoes:
  • 1/3 cup blue crab
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 green tomatoes, washed and cored
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 6 cups seasonal field greens
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup julienned red onion
  • 1/4 cup peeled and diced stone fruit (such as plums or peaches)
  • 4 ounces goat cheese


To make the filling for the tomatoes, combine the crab, cream cheese, goat cheese, scallions, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper into a food processor and pulse to combine.

Cut the tomatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place one tablespoon of the filling onto a slice of tomato, spread to cover, and place another tomato slice on top. Cut the filled tomatoes into quarters. Repeat with remaining tomato slices and filling.

Season the flour with the 1 teaspoon of salt and about 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Set up a breading station with the seasoned flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Dip the filled tomatoes in the flour and shake off the excess. Then dip into the egg and finally into the breadcrumbs. Place on a plate and repeat with remaining tomatoes.

Heat oil to 325ºF in a heavy saucepan. Carefully place tomatoes in the pan and fry for approximately 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crispy. Remove and place on a wire rack or a plate lined with paper towels.

To make the vinaigrette, put the lemon juice, shallots, mustard, honey, lemon zest, vanilla, salt, and pepper into a blender and pulse to combine. With the blender on low speed, slowly add the oil and process until mixture is emulsified.

Combine the greens, grape tomatoes, corn, peanuts, red onions, and stone fruit in a large mixing bowl. Add enough vinaigrette to coat and toss well. Divide the salad among serving plates and crumble the goat cheese on top. To serve, top the salad with warm fried green tomato wedges.


6 servings