It’s hard to believe that September is already here. Although it was sad to see Peach Month go, we’re excited to welcome fall and all of the seasonal produce that comes with it. We’ve had our fun with fresh berries, melon and the other colorful fruits that dot the farmer’s market stands during the summer months, but we’re ready to try something new. Okra is one of those ingredients that, quite frankly, has everyone fooled. On it’s own it’s rather bland in flavor and the fibrous ribs inside the pods can become quite “slimy” the more they’re handled. So why choose okra for this month’s installment of “What’s In Season?” Because it’s a Southern, country cookin’ staple if there ever was one, of course! Truthfully, the blandness of okra lends well to being dressed up with an array of cooking methods and more flavorful ingredients. Additionally, that slimy starchiness is a wonderful thickening agent for things like casseroles, baked grits, pot pies and more. We’ve come up with 5 delicious recipes that use seasonal okra, including a twist on classic Southern Fried Okra that we serve in the Cafe. Check out the recipe links below!
So often okra is accused of being slimy, but that rich starch is praised for it’s thickening properties in dishes like gumbo. This hearty side dish is perfect for a weekend brunch or evening family meal, and the viscosity of the cheese grits perfectly masks that gooey quality of the okra. Click here for the yummy recipe.
This fresh and simple salad should be made right before eating it, as the starches from the okra will only become more slimy as it sits – but work perfectly to create a dressing the coats the delicious chunks of fresh tomato when made quickly and served right away. Find the recipe here.
Fried okra is a southern staple if ever there was one, but most recipes use a cornmeal-based breading. This tasty version is sure to be a crowd-pleaser with it’s light and crispy fried chicken breading. For best results, use smaller-sized pods, as the larger they are, the more fibrous they become. If using larger pods, slice into ¾ inch wheels instead of cutting them lengthwise. Here’s the recipe.
The quick hot heat of the grill keeps the ‘slime factor’ of the okra to a minimum, while the charred flavor only enhances the best traits of this great vegetable. Delicious hot or at room temperature, this dish is easily doubled or tripled and is an excellent addition to and end-of-summer backyard barbecue or buffet. Click here to find the recipe!
A different take on traditional pickled okra, you’ll find it hard to resist dipping in and snacking on these favorites. An excellent garnish for a Sunday Bloody Mary bar, we also enjoy dicing them up for potato and pasta salad. Here’s how you do it!