Humble southern vegetable,
your stem stubbed,
your tail curved and oh-so-thin,
your skin fuzzy like the Peach, your garden neighbor;
your seeds slick my knife with their sludge.
Fried up golden brown and crisp, or
thrown in a pot of gumbo.
Okra! How I love thee!
When I was a child, only you,
of all the vegetables,
ever merited seconds (and, when Mom made enough,
thirds.) At Grandma's, you arrived in a paper bag,
top crumpled to hide
its precious cargo,
fresh and dirty still from being pick'd.
Though you are a stranger still to some,
I greedily steal you from grocery shelves,
piling you in bag after bag to take home
and fry up.
I can never get enough.
This barely qualifies as a recipe, and I don't actually deep-fry the okra (or even roll it in flour to coat it) - after all, I have my health to think of. But fried okra is all about the okra (and salt!) not about the fry, so it still tastes much like it did when my mother used to make it. It's made an addict of Mr. Food Musings.
2 TBSP vegetable oil
1/2 lb. okra, chopped
1. Make sure everyone else in the house is either out for the night or asleep.
2. Heat oil over medium heat till hot but not smoking in a non-stick pan (or, if you want to be authentic, in your grandmother's blackened skillet that is never washed, only wiped out). Add okra and cook until somewhat softened on the inside, crispy on the outside, and darkened to a deep green, 10-15 minutes. Season with salt to taste and eat directly from the skillet.