Sunday, August 28, 2005
Fried Okra and Green Tomatoes with Tomato-Mint and Almond Salad
In case it hasn’t been extremely well established by now, I am a simple girl who just plain loves taking part in online food events. My only qualm is that when I make food on my own, I feel like I get a pretty picture, but when I take on a food event meal, it never comes out too yummy lookin’. Am I cursed? Perhaps. But maybe it’s something bigger than that. Or not.
The perfect example, (of course) is my entry today for IMBB 18. The topic (topic?) was frying. (Summer Is Flying, Let's Get Frying to be exact) Yup. Fry something. That is so delicious an idea, I had to join in, even knowing the photo of my idea wouldn’t be so glam. Because let's face it, deep fried never looks too pretty (in my experience) but that really is no matter, since gosh darn, it always tastes fantastic.
So my gloriously un-photogenic entry is Fried Green Tomatoes and Fried Okra served with a Tomato-Mint and Almond Salad. (Salad, salsa, garnish, medley, whatever!) And the happy upshot is that it was, without a doubt, one of the yummiest things I have eaten in weeks.
The rationally behind my choice was that I am mildly obsessed with the foods of the American South, which I ate with relish one summer during a college internship and am constantly trying to recreate at home. (Its a tougher sell to my clients) Among many other foods, the star of this dish, okra, features prominently in Southern cuisine. A native to Africa, okra is a long pod, (also sometimes called lady-fingers) and it is well known, a slimy mouthfeel when you eat it. Something some people really cant abide. The slime factor is also why it actually works super well when it is fried with a crunchy corn meal coating. It sort of reduces the slime (I really wish I could use a different word there, I just can’t) and makes it a fun thing to eat. It is for sure, a vegetable I wish more people would cozy up to.
In addition to the fried business, the tomatoes are tangy and have a lemony vibrancy making a great combo. I added the salad to round it out, and the mint and chile are a heavenly to the whole thing. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm.
Here is the recipe, if you are in the mood to try it's salty, crunchy, spicy, minty, delicousness out yourself. Enjoy!
3 assorted color tomatoes, large cubed dice
1 scallion, sliced thin
1 chile pepper, minced (some set aside for garnish)
Large bunch of mint, chiffonade
¼ cup slivered, toasted almonds
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound okra
3 green tomatoes
½ cup white flour
½ cup corn meal flour
2 teaspoons almond slivers, crushed
1 tablespoon course ground black pepper
salt (lots and lots of salt)
In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, scallions, chile, mint, almonds, vinegar and olive oil. Season to taste. Set aside
In a shallow bowl, gently whisk the eggs and set aside.
In another shallow bowl, combine the flours, crushed almonds and black pepper.
Cut the tomatoes into ½ inch slices, and the okra into the same (discarding the stems and tips)
In a wide, shallow pan, heat ½ inch of vegetable oil over medium heat.
Toss the tomatoes and okra in the flour, then dip in the egg mixture, then back into the flour.
Shake off excess and gently and carefully, add to the oil in a single layer. Fry until golden brown (about 2 minutes per side). Remove and drain on paper towels. Salt liberally and serve with the tomato-mint-almond salad.
Makes enough for four appetizers
Okra probably originated somewhere around Ethiopia, and was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians by the 12th century B.C.
Mature okra is used to make rope and paper
Corn flour is made of finely ground corn and is gluten-free