Happy long weekend!
Okra, sliced + cornmeal/flour batter + salt & pepper
For the past couple of weeks, fresh okra has been showing up at my farmers' market. I'd long associated okra with being this goopy disgusting mess, until a couple of years ago when I had this marvelous fried okra dish at Dévi, an Indian restaurant in New York. I never knew okra could be so wonderful! If I remember correctly (memory impeded, slightly, by this equally marvelous cocktail called the gin petal, which incorporated Hendrick's, lychee puree, and rose water), it was sliced thin and deep fried, and didn't taste like the gross okra of yore.
So when I saw the fresh okra at the farmers' market, I decided to pick some up, even though the vendor himself made a small face at the sight of the okra. Seems that he doesn't like it. And true, the above dish bears no resemblance to that Indian dish - but nor was it mushy. It was nice and crisp, blistered in the heat of my cast iron pan.
The only problem? When I went home last, I'd brought my mother some cactusfruit which she enjoyed, but she kept complaining about the large number of seeds in the fruit. I told her to just swallow them - I mean, really. But she replied that all it takes is for one seed to be lodged in your appendix, and then you're off to the hospital for an appendectomy. (So yes, she even deseeds her tomatoes.) And as the seeds in okra are large enough to be noticed, I could only eat half the dish before I too feared that I was going to have to be rushed to the ER with an inflamed appendix. Which is too bad, because it did taste good.
Lessons learned? There are several. Okra doesn't have to be gross. You ought to try Dévi if in New York, and just get the fried okra and gin petal (multiple glasses of the latter). And listening to your parents can potentially make you as loopy as they. You have been warned.