This mozzarella gets deliciously soft, brown, and crusty when broiled or pan-fried, melting just enough in this recipe to get temptingly gooey without falling apart in the pan when you flip the pieces. The result is like a fried green tomato and breaded mozzarella in one scrumptious wheat-free combo. For this to work, it’s important to use mozzarella solidified with agar powder. (But not to worry: If your mozzarella is melty, simply spoon the melted cheese onto the tomatoes before serving.)

Fried Green Tomato Melts [Vegan]

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 batch mozzarella (two or three 1-inch balls), any variety
  • 1 large or 2 small green tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil (2 teaspoons if using a nonstick pan)
  • Fine sea salt, to taste
  • Gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) or freshly ground black pepper, to taste
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Preparation

  1. Cut the mozzarella into eight 1/2-inch slices. Cut the tomato into eight 1/4-inch slices.
  2. Coat a frying pan or nonstick pan with 1 tablespoon of the oil and warm over medium heat.
  3. Place the mozzarella slices in the pan and layer a slice of tomato on top of each.
  4. Allow the mozzarella pieces to get brown and crusty on the bottom. Try not to check them too often, but look for crisp edges and softening near the top. Press the tomato slice down gently so that it sticks to the soft cheese.
  5. Once the cheese is browned, add the remaining tablespoon of the oil to the pan. Use a thin spatula to flip each of the cheese-and-tomato stacks. Cook until the tomato browns a little.
  6. Remove them from the pan, blot them on a paper towel if needed, then season with salt and red pepper flakes before serving hot.
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