My friend Alice called last week with a dinner invitation. They were laying plans for a ham roast, she said. It would be something of an experiment.

A ham experiment was something I was quite keen to get in on. “What can I bring? I’ve got six bowls of green tomatoes right here,” I said, tapping the kitchen table.

“Sure, fried green tomatoes,” she said. “That would be perfect.”

Fast forward to yesterday. The green tomatoes were pinking up and I was panicking. My plan had seemed so good, so infallible — sliced tomatoes fried in cornmeal and pepper and served with green chile mayo.

On to Plan B, then, which included rescuing a few barely-split Brandywines from the compost pile — they were largely preserved by the cold temps — and plucking some rock hard paste tomatoes from under the backyard cloche. These weren’t the ideal green tomato you hear Southerners talk about, the ones that are just softening but can still stand a hot fry pan. But they were delicious anyway, especially with the spicy mayo. And I know where to find more.

Recipe: Green Chile Mayo

1 poblano pepper, roasted and diced / ½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped / ¼ cup mayo (I like canola) or your own made from an egg, olive oil, and lemon juice / 3 tbls plain yogurt / 2 tsp dijon mustard / pinch cayenne pepper / salt to taste

Blend everything except the salt in a food processor. Add salt to taste, chill for half an hour, then serve with fried green tomatoes. Adapted from Deborah Madison.