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O is for Okra

April 18, 2015

Fresh Okra

I’ve been thinking today about okra, my favorite vegetable–no contest.  I consider it the true food of the gods.  A while back, I was checking out at Lowe’s Foods with a mess of okra, and the little girl at the register asked me what it was. Taken aback, I said, “Oh honey, it’s okra. Didn’t your mama love you?”

My paternal  grandparents raised a lot of vegetables on their farm, but my favorite–yep–okra.  And while I actually like it stewed ’til it’s slimy and slides right through me, I love it best friend.  I don’t eat it out often, though, because I am particular about my okra.  It doesn’t need thick batter; it just needs a light dusting of cornmeal (Martha White, of course).  It absolutely must be fried in a black iron skillet.

I’ll admit that I didn’t learn to cook okra until I was grown and married.  I didn’t have to do it.  I could count on fried okra all year around because Mama Coats always put plenty in her freezer every year.  At my own home, since there were seven of us around the dinner table, we learned to keep one eye open during the blessing before meals, one hand poised to grab for the okra spoon at “Amen.”  One law of nature:  there is never leftover fried okra.  In fact, there’s a good chance it might not make it to the table, with all the nibbling before hand.

Over the years, I’ve learned the best way to put up okra: I slice it up as if I’m ready to fry it, spread it out on a cookie sheet and run it into a hot over for ten minutes. Then I left it cool before putting in to freezer bags. It tastes almost as good as fresh when I thaw it, meal it, and fry it.

I’ve found several other good way to enjoy okra.  I have a great little okra and bacon skillet cake recipe. The magazine where I found it suggested using a couple of them like sandwich bread to serve a slice of fried green tomato. Mmmm.  Almost too much.

I also have a killer duck and oyster gumbo recipe from Garden and Gun magazine that, of course, calls for okra.

If I was forced to choose one way to eat it the rest of my life, though, I’d meal it up and fry it, and if I’m doing the cooking, I’ll get in a few good spoonfuls before it makes it to the table.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 18, 2015 4:14 am

    I’m with you, Cuz! I LOVE okra . . . or okry, as my Louisiana and Texas relatives used to say.

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