“Country Caprese”: Fried Green Tomatoes and Whiskey Cheddar at Alvin & Friends in New Rochelle, NY

Here’s the funny thing about Chef Raymond Jackson of Alvin & Friends. Though he attended a New Hampshire boarding school and has a B.S.B.A. from Georgetown University, there’s a whole lot of Memphis, Tennessee, still left in his soul. He’s cooked at Danny Meyer’s Blue Smoke and at Emeril Lagasse’s eponymous New Orleans restaurant, but in New Rochelle’s Alvin and Friends, he’s heading up his own kitchen to offer sophisticated flavors with a Southern and Caribbean flair. One of our favorite dishes (and there are a lot) is Jackson’s homage to the hard, tart, green tomato. Unlike many versions of this Southern classic (that denature the unripe fruit’s elemental tartness), Jackson’s fried green tomato remains firm, juicy, and in retention of enough acid to stay interesting under a tasty crust. And in a winking ode to the standard tomato-mozz Caprese salad, Jackson pairs the tomato with sharp, subtly wood-scented cheddar cheese. The last is left un-melted, and offers a delicious resistance to every eager bite. Mmm.

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