Ah, the crunch of freshly picked greens … the sweet kiss of a plump tomato … and the tantalizing flavor of that southern favorite, fried green tomatoes. These bright flavors fit in perfectly with Sonesta’s “Food Is Art” approach to summertime dishes. And Chef Dernier “Nelly” Buleje at the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island knows exactly how to put all these ingredients together into a crisp and delicious appetizer, complemented by a uniquely sweet dressing.


Salad Ingredients:

Olive oil
1 green tomato, cut into ½-inch rings
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup yellow corn flour
1 tblspn garlic powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 cups buttermilk
1 ripened beefsteak tomato
1 oz. red heirloom spinach
1 oz. regular baby spinach
2 oz. lemon vinaigrette


  1. Pour buttermilk in a shallow dish with cayenne and pinch of salt and ground black pepper. Marinate the sliced green tomatoes in this mixture for 2-3 hours.
    In a deep-fryer, preheat oil to 350 degrees.
  2. Place corn flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a shallow dish. Dredge the coated green tomato slices through the corn flour. Add just a few pieces to the fryer at a time so they cook evenly, about 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Place on a plate with napkins to catch the extra oil.
  3. Slice the beefsteak tomato. Distribute slices two to a plate across from each other and season with salt and pepper. Distribute green tomatoes, also two to a plate, alternating their placement with the beefsteak slices.
  4. Toss both spinaches with dressing (see below), season, and place in middle of plate. Finish off with drizzles of extra dressing around the tomatoes.

Dressing Ingredients:

1 oz. basil leaves
8 oz. vegetable oil
2 oz. lemon juice
2 cloves minced garlic
3 ice cubes
2 oz. honey


  1. In a blender or food processor, whirl all ingredients except the honey until smooth. (The ice cubes preserve the color of the basil.)
  2. Add honey during blending until everything emulsifies
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.