Every year for the past 4-5 years or so, I have signed up to receive a CSA (community supported agriculture) share for the late spring/summer/early fall months. What is a CSA? This means I pay a lump sum at the beginning of the season, and get a bag of produce every week, which varies depending on weather and availability. The farmer(s) decide what I get to eat, which means that the vegetables are currently in season, often at their peak, and amazingly fresh. This also means I have no say in the vegetables I get, but also means that I can plan meals around the vegetables, which sometimes actually helps me get a head start!
Most of the time there is no one at the CSA pick-up, or if there is, we keep to ourselves, check our names off the list, take our stuff, and leave. However, about a month ago, I bumped into a nice lady named Robin, and we chatted about what we wanted to do with such-and-such crops in the share that week.
I got stuck on okra, though…what to do with a big bag of okra, besides made gumbo, which I didn’t have time to do that week?
I’m from the South-let me tell you how to cook the okra, Robin said.
Ooh! Yes. This should be good.
Slice the okra into thin disks, coat with cornmeal, pan-fry on low, and season with salt and black pepper.
Nope; the sliminess from the okra will help bind the cornmeal. When I was growing up, while our family said grace before dinner, my siblings would have their hands hovering over the plate, ready to snatch.
Skeptical but amused, I set out to make okra a la Robin. And let me tell you…I had no trouble seeing why her siblings fought over it! It disappeared in seconds, the first time I made it.
Just like with the beef and corn recipe, I lament not having been able to get this post out earlier, because I fear that okra will soon disappear from the produce aisles! No matter..if you can find okra, you should really make this recipe, especially because it requires less than 5 ingredients, even if you count the salt and pepper.
Wherever you are, Robin, thank you for sharing with me this simple but tasty preparation of okra!
Cornmeal Crusted Okra
1)Slice okra, crosswise, into 1/4-1/2 inch disks. Coat with fine cornmeal, and shake off excess cornmeal.
2) In a (cast iron) skillet, add enough oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan. Add one layer of okra medallions and pan fry on medium heat.
3) Flip the okra to make sure the cornmeal on both sides gets nice and brown.
4) Season with salt and pepper and eat while hot!