Around the table at the family gathering last weekend, the hot topic (and I do mean hot!) among those who had gardens was about picking okra--how on these scorcheroo days nobody can bear the thought of that necessary task.
Even the most seasoned gardeners were quietly admitting that they let days go by now without making a trek to their garden's okra "bushes". The sticky plants get even stickier in this Texas heat. Nobody can bear the thought of sweltering while getting attacked by thousands of little okra-skin prickles.
Miss a day now, and the okra pods are just too big and tough. But doggone it, that's what we've--and everyone else apparently has--been doing. The heat is just too stifling. The gargantuan okra pods have become rejects (a.k.a. gone into the pod-drying pile for seeds for next year.)
Tonight my guilty conscience--and my desire for just one more helping of summer staple Golden Fried Okra--got to me. Hubby answered my pitiful entreaty and dashed out to the okra rows, quickly cut what he could, threw the bigger ones into his "seed pile",and raced back in to take a birdbath and guzzle down some bottled water after the venture. The 20 pods he brought in were perfect for my eggwash and flour-cornmeal dusting before I popped them into a sizzling skillet.
I'm not promising what tomorrow might bring. With yet another 100-plus August day in store, we may become okra slackers again. But on tonight's dinner table was the freshest, goldenest fried okra you can imagine--worth every bit of trouble (Hubby to wife: "That's easy for you to say, since you weren't the picker!")
Golden Fried Okra
20 okra pods, washed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt (I used salt substitute)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 eggs, beaten (I used egg substitute)
In medium-sized bowl beat eggs or pour egg substitute. In plastic zipper bag combine flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, and paprika. Stir cut okra into egg until it is covered. Remove okra from egg and dip in flour mixture in the plastic bag until okra is thoroughly coated. Heat 1-inch oil in a large skillet. When oil is heated, remove coated okra to skillet. Fry in small batches until coating is golden brown and okra tender (about 5-7 minutes). Continue to fry in batches until all okra is fried. Drain on paper towels.