Growing up in New York City, I never even heard of okra. When I first started experimenting with cooking in college, I was home and wanted to make a brunswick stew, which called for okra. So I asked my mother what okra was, she shrugged and said, dismissively, “some southern vegetable, we don’t use it.”
Fast forward 20 years to my living in southern Delaware – the Northern South. Somehow I ended up with okra seeds, so I planted them in my garden to see what would happen. I was rewarded with hibiscus-like “trees” growing in my garden!
Although I still did not know what to do with okra, I kept planting it just for the aesthetic of the plant.
In the past few years I have discovered 3 distinct ways of cooking okra that I love:
- Indian – Bindi Chamatkar
This is my first installment of Ode to Okra – one of my favorite vegetables…
Cornmeal Crusted Okra
1 lb okra (from the garden)
1 egg (from Farmer Kim)
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
Slice okra into about 1/2 ” pieces.
Beat egg in a shallow bowl. In a second shallow bowl, mix cornmeal, parmesan, cayenne and salt.
Working in batches (it took about 5 batches to do 1 lb), dip okra in egg, toss to coat.
Remove from egg and toss in cornmeal mixture to coat. Shake off excess.
Cover the bottom of a large skillet with safflower oil, about 1/4 inch deep. Heat over medium-high heat. Add okra. Do not overcrowd the pan (thus the 5 batches). cook about 2 – 3 minutes, toss to flip the pieces and cook on the other side for anothe 2 minutes, til golden. Add more oil between batches, if necessary. Bring it back up to heat before adding the okra.
Drain on paper towels.
Serve family style and enjoy!
Serves 4 (but I have to admit I can eat the whole batch myself!)
- Patty Pan Squash Two and a Half Ways (andreasgardencooking.com)
- Southern Fried Okra (wherefloursbloom.com)
- Indian Stuffed Okra (dietiscorrect.wordpress.com)
- Pecan Crusted Fried Okra (spoonfeast.com)
- THE Health Benefits Okra (notecook.com)
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