If you are a foodie, like me, you may have heard that folks in New Orleans refer to the blend of onions, celery and bell pepper as the holy trinity—the basis for Cajun cooking. I can get on board with that—lots of fine things happen when a dish starts with that trio.
But the holy trinity of my culinary world is creamed corn, sliced tomatoes and fried okra. Holy- because this is what I will eat in heaven- as much and as often as I want and not ruin my perfect new body. Creamed corn is the gold in my garden, which should be ready next week and deserving of its own blog post so I’ll get cranked on that in the near future. I’m sure.
This is about fried okra.
Before any of you turn your nose up (or click to another site), let me just say up front: Stewed okra is an abomination of the Lord and should never be allowed in one’s home, lest it be defiled. Why stewed okra is the only preparation known in the world outside of the south is a mystery. Which isn’t worth talking about. Ever.
I am here to sing the praises of fried okra. Oh, how I love thee.
One of the few true memories I have of my nanny (my mom’s mom) was her ability to make The. Best. Fried. Okra. Ever. She made it just the way I love it: dark brown and crunchy—good enough to eat alone, almost like popcorn—but when placed next to creamed corn…oh my. Heaven. Every time I set to making fried okra (like I did this weekend) I have in my mind my nanny’s okra as the gold standard.
I got the first cutting of my okra on Saturday. God’s mercy to me is that it even grows in this Yankee state. Maryland, My Maryland is technically south of the Mason Dixon line (the line is 5 miles from our farm)-but they know nothing of being southern. It’s the place where the Cracker Barrel waitresses whisper a warning that the corn bread “is not sweet”. Yeah, honey, I know…..hold the biscuits—bring the cornbread. They think grits grow on trees. I’m doing my best here to educate…but they are a pretty hopeless cause when it comes it anything outside of seafood. And corn –which is their redemption. But like I said…more about that later.
The fact that cutting okra is the itchiest job in the garden is hardly worth mentioning. Small sacrifice.
My mom (who makes good fried okra…not as good as her mom) taught me that okra can be fried, cooled, bagged and frozen –and if placed on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven till crispy- tastes almost as good as fresh fried okra. And that is what I did on Saturday afternoon. I snuck a few crispy pieces as I bagged it up, anticipating the blessed meal of creamed corn, okra and sliced tomatoes to come.
I had the best intention to keep that okra for the winter. Truly I did. But knowing it was there in my freezer ….it was drawing me like fly to pie. So Sunday, after church….with fried chicken in hand…I walked directly to the freezer, pulled out a new bag of frozen okra, cranked the oven to 400 and waited for goodness.
Even my hub who usually turns his Maryland nose up at fried okra had seconds.
There’s nothing like a convert to the holy trinity.