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So our neighbor Lisa comes bouncing across - she’s a merry kinda gal - with a couple of green things in her hand.

“You’ve gotta eat these darling!”

She calls everybody darling. I always listen to her because she’s a registered nurse. Specializes in babies, lactation, nutrition. Knows a lot about food.

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They’re little green grooved pods.

“I just gently boiled them,” she says.

I look at them. Uh, eat? They look like the kind of things you’d put led lights in and hang up in strings. But they’re soft, so I take one, chomp and…mm. Not bad. Tastes like beans, peas, sesame paste, but more…slimy.

“Mucilaginous, darling. But guess what? That gooey part is soluble fiber. Good for you! They have tons of fiber, lots of vitamin C, a third of what you need each day, iron, calcium, potassium, lineolic acid…”

“Okay, now you’re losing me. Lineolic…?”

“Don’t worry about that darling. Just remember they’re totally fat-free and cholesterol-free, and they absorb bile-rejected toxins, and guess what, darling.”

She says “Guess what?” a lot, too.

“My daddy’s cholesterol was 237, and in one month, eating a portion of okra like these three to four times a week, he dropped to 200! See, it’s the seeds…delicious and full of oil. As much as sunflower seeds. People drive cars on this oil. But you should eat the skins too. They’re full of goodness.”

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Have to admit, the seeds are delicious little poppers.

And Lawdie knows, I’ve gotta drop a few cholesterol points.

“But guess what, darling? Just don’t fry it like they do in the south. That undoes all the good it does you.”

Dang. But point taken.

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Comments

Ian Pike Aug. 27, 2012 @ 6:47 p.m.

Okra is delicious and it's almost never used well at restaurants. I think there's a tendency to pre-cook it (which makes it slimy) pre-cut it (which makes it slimy and falling apart) or cook the ever loving hell out of it (which makes it slimy and falling apart and significantly less nutritious.

But, oh man, when it's good it's not just for thickening gumbo!

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David Dodd Aug. 27, 2012 @ 7:27 p.m.

Yeah, I'm with you, boiling it makes it slimy. My grandmother diced it and rolled it in cornmeal (and other spices) and fried it with some squash mixed in for good measure, it was amazing stuff. Probably not so healthy, but so tasty.

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dwbat Aug. 28, 2012 @ 3:01 a.m.

Southern-fried okra is manna from heaven; melts in your mouth. My mom used to cook it. Can you get it anywhere in SD? And one can fry okra in olive oil to keep it healthy.

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Ed Bedford Aug. 28, 2012 @ 3:53 a.m.

Actually, the slime didn't bother me once I'd committed. But Chris S, writing in the North Park Farmers' Market blog says you can get okra there (Thursdays, 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., on Herman Avenue, between University and North Park Way, up around 32nd St.) Three stands there have it: African Sisters, Proiose Farm, and JR Organics. And as you say, dw, if you toss the okra in olive oil and grill - quickly - on a hot grill, and sprinkle "with coarse sea salt," you've got yourself some pretty healthy and not to slimey and no way shabby okra.

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Ian Pike Aug. 28, 2012 @ 10:08 a.m.

Yup, a hot hot grill will do the trick, as will a smoking hot saute pan over a ridiculous (i.e. industrial) strong flame or a five hundred degree oven for a few minutes to get a blistered exterior. The key seems to be to cook it fast an generate that lovely "just slimy enough" sensation.

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