Raise your hand if you’ve watched the movie Fried Green Tomatoes. Repeatedly. Almost as much as you watched Disney as a child.

I don’t know what it was about Fannie Flagg’s epic Southern novel turned movie that so captivated my imagination, but Lordy, it did. In elementary school my friend Chelsea and I would cycle through her family’s video collection, typically Father of the BrideWild Hearts Can’t Be Broken, and then right back to Fried Green Tomatoes and Kathy Bates yelling, “TOwanda!!” I laughed and sniffled right on cue, every time, and I’ve had a hankering to wear 1920s-style cuffed trousers and get in a proper food fight with underripe tomatoes ever since.

Turns out I had my chance. After abandoning hope that the last tomatoes clinging to the vine in our garden would ripen, for the first time in my life I had green tomatoes in the kitchen. But Hollywood and previous ambitions aside, I really didn’t have the heart to fry them or smash them against my husband’s forehead. Fortunately my search for a suitable alternative came up with gold.

The recipe is by New York Times food columnist Melissa Clark from her new cookbook In the Kitchen With a Good Appetite, but I found it by way of blogger Faith Durand over at The Kitchn. This one-pan wonder solved my green tomato dilemma and was original, quick, and scrumptious—as Mike put it between bites, “Blog the heck out of this one!” Besides the beefsteak tomato the ingredients list calls for, I added some bright green cherry tomatoes I had too, and they cooked up with the appearance of green grapes and an even tarter burst of flavor that counterpoints the richness of the dark chicken meat.

My thanks to both food writers for steering me toward this for dinner tonight!

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Green Tomatoes, Basil, and Ginger
By Melissa Clark

Time: 30 minutes
Serves 2 to 3

Yet another variation on my chicken thighs with green peaches, this one uses that other underripe fruit usually available at the farmers’ market: green tomatoes. When roasted, they get juicy and sweet, and exude a fragrant, herby liquid that is less sweet than the peaches, but earthy and robust. And when you can’t get green tomatoes, this recipe works with those pasty-colored, underripe supermarket tomatoes, too. Though the flavor is slightly less complex, it’s still a tasty meal served over polenta.

1 large green tomato (about 1/2 pound)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch strips
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons dry (fino) sherry
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-inch-long piece fresh gingerroot, grated
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Crusty bread or rice, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Core the tomato and halve it lengthwise; slice 1/2 inch thick.

2. In a 9×13-inch pan, toss all the ingredients except 1 tablespoon basil. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and the tomato is softened, about 20 minutes. Garnish with the remaining tablespoon basil. The sauce will be thin, so serve with crusty bread for sopping or over rice.