Friday, January 9, 2009

I've Been Slimed!

Okra is one of those vegetables that most people steer clear of. First it is green. Second, it is shaped inappropriately. Third, it is slimy. Not just slick and slippery, but it actually produces slime. Who in their right mind would want to eat that stuff?
Well, to be honest, it is good!
Introduced to its culinary promise by my maternal grandparents, it has been a source of epicurean delight and torture ever since.
My grandfather would tell us to cross our legs when we ate it because it could
slide right through. We believed him for years. All of us, my brother, sister and I, would sit, legs crossed tightly, munching away. My grandfather would sit with a knowing smile on his face as he joined us, legs crossed at my grandmother's table. I am sure now that my grandfather must have taken great and sadistic pleasure in the fact that we hung on every word he said when it came to the wisdom of food.
Later in life, legs still gloriously crossed, I told my children the same thing. For some reason, they didn't buy it. But, they too have a love for this simple vegetable.
But, how do you use it? What can you do to make it palatable?
It is great in gumbos where that slime, er, texture, provides a source of thickening for the stew. It is great cooked with tomato and corn for a side dish.
My favorite method is to fry it. Yes, I said the dreaded word. F. R. Y. Don't be afraid, it isn't all that bad for you if you use minimal oil and make it Olive Oil, thank you very much!
Here is my recipe. Hope you enjoy it.

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