Fried Green Tomato Turkey Burgers with Green Goddess Dressing + Tarragon Baked Shoestring Fries

I can't possibly write about fried green tomatoes without a loving nod to Idgie Threadgoode, my ultimate style icon and all-around favorite fictional lady. If you're familiar with the book or film adaptation, you know the ultimate romanticizing of fried green tomatoes is well observed throughout, and while we brainstormed this recipe I was continually distracted by it.

It's a bold statement, but Robert has continually made me the best turkey burgers I've ever had. I'm not sure I've ever had one out that was worth bragging about, but his have really blown me away (some crowd favorites from Instagram herehere and here). The fried green tomatoes aren't the only star of the show here, although their slightly tangy deliciousness is a very present. The turkey burger itself has bacon, and we topped it all with green goddess dressing. It's a harmonious moment when you bite into this thing.  Turkey burgers often fall victim to being too dry, and lacking flavor. Ground turkey needs a bit of dressing up and packing them with enough seasoning is essential to a flavorful burger in the end. This one is certainly aided by the bacon, and a healthy shake of spices. 

These oven baked shoestring fries, topped with sea salt, black pepper and fresh tarragon are my new favorite oven baked french fry. You'll need a mandolin or spiralizer slicer, a tool we've found really helpful for making zucchini pasta, and especially these fries. Since you're not deep frying them, you want them to be really thin so they get extra crispy in the oven.   

Turkey Burger
makes 2 burgers

1/2 lb turkey
1/4 lb slab bacon, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper
2 soft, seeded hamburger buns, toasted
2 bibb lettuce leaves
Fried Green Tomato slice (recipe to follow)
Green Goddess Dressing (recipe to follow)

Place bacon pieces in a cold skillet and bring to medium heat. Bacon will slowly render - continue cooking until cripsy, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove bacon and all but 1 tbs bacon grease from skillet. Set bacon aside to cool. Return skillet with 1 tbs bacon grease to medium heat. Add onions, salt and pepper and cook until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a large bowl, combine turkey, bacon, onion, egg, parsley and salt and pepper. Working gently, fold to combine. Add panko and mix gently as to not overwork the meat. Form two large patties and set aside. 

On a grill or griddle over medium-high heat, cook turkey burger patties until bottom has browned, about 4 minutes. Continue cooking an additional 4 minutes, then flip again and cook until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the patty reads 160°. eTo assemble burger, spread green goddess onto bottom bun. Top with burger patty, lettuce leaf, fried green tomato slice and additional green goddess dressing. 

Fried Green Tomatoes
2 green tomatoes, sliced
1 egg
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup coarse yellow cornmeal (polenta)
2 cups canola oil
salt and pepper

Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium heat until oil reaches 350° when reading with a frying thermometer. While oil is heating, prepare the breading ingredients by placing egg and beating slightly in a small bowl. Combine cornmeal and coarse cornmeal in a second bowl and season with salt and pepper. When the oil is ready, dip tomato slices in egg and then coat with cornmeal mixture. Fry in oil until cripsy and brown, about 5 minutes per slice. Take care not to crowd the oil, frying in batches to keep the temperature from dropping. When finished frying, set aside to cool on metal rack. 

Green Goddess Dressing
1/2 avocado, diced
1/4 cup nonfat greek yogurt
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh tarragon
1/4 cup fresh italian parsley
salt and pepper to taste

To make dressing, combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. If dressing is too thick, it can be thinned to desired consistency with water or olive oil, adding in 1/2 teaspoon increments.

Oven Baked Tarragon Shoestring Fries
required tools: mandolin or spiralizer slicer

2 potatoes 
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs baking powder
1 tbs fresh tarragon, chopped
sea salt and cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. Using a mandoline with the medium tooth blade attachment or spiralizer slicer, cut potatoes into small, shoestring style ribbons. Place potatoes in a large bowl and toss with baking powder and let stand 15 minutes. Add olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Place ribbons on a large baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, flip and bake an additional 10 minutes. 

Remove from oven again to check for doneness. If you prefer crispier fries, keep cooking in additional 10 minute increments until crispy (ours took about 35 minutes total). Remove from heat, season with fresh tarragon, sea salt and cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.