January 7, 2012 § 1 Comment
Cooking up a pan of Southern fried okra last night made me wax nostalgic for my parents’ garden. In Oklahoma and Texas, where I grew up, the growing season is fairly long so there was an abundance of fresh produce. Everything from spring onions, radishes, lettuce, tomatoes, to peppers, squashes, purple hull peas, and okra.
Every summer I look back to those days and long for the kinds of fresh produce I was raised on. I have aspirations of growing some of my own, but have been unsuccessful at juggling the job and the garden. I am sure I will attempt tomatoes again this summer. There is nothing like a homegrown, heirloom tomato, right off the vine.
Okra, on the other hand, will have to come from the farmer’s market. Anyone who has had to harvest these delights in the Texas summer heat, knows it is a prickly, unpleasant undertaking, one that I will leave up to the pros.
Speaking of the okra, I find everywhere I go, these battered or heavily breaded “things” called fried okra and they just don’t satisfy like Mom’s Southern fried okra and hers was much simpler. Simply cut the okra into half inch slices, salt and pepper lightly and toss with enough corn meal to lightly coat. Pan fry in a hot, cast iron skillet until crispy and golden. My guys say I don’t make okra enough. I would have to agree, but fried is my most favorite way to eat okra, and there isn’t one of us that needs it. I will just have to save it for special occasions.
I encourage you, if you can, to grow something for your table this year. It won’t just feed your body. It will feed your soul…