The calendar and the temperature are still screaming summer here in Atlanta, but in my world it is fall. The children are back in school and I attended my first football game of the season earlier this week. All of this is a not so gentle reminder that the lazy summer days will soon be coming to an end. That also means that one of my favorite summer vegetables, okra, will be less abundant in the weeks to come as well.
Fried okra is a staple on my summer menus, and one of the only fried items that sees a regular rotation in my meal planning. I do occasionally roast my okra. It is good, but nothing beats the tried and true recipe for fried okra that was handed down to me by my grandmother, Zachary. This okra has a light batter of cornmeal and flour and is shallow fried in a cast iron skillet. The secret to this tasty side dish is that each individual piece of okra is turned over one by one. As a hungry and impatient child, I could not understand why my grandmother gently flipped each piece one by one, in what seemed like an eternity to complete a batch. The only explanation I ever received from the patient cook was, "That's the way Easter did it!" Easter was my grandmother's housekeeper when my father was a small child. She got her unusual name because she was born on Easter Sunday, and evidently used to joke that she was grateful she had not been born on Thanksgiving. I think Easter's sense of humor was just as good as her method for frying okra.
While the days are still long, I highly recommend taking the time to fry up a batch of this okra. Might I suggest that you make sure to double or triple the recipe, as these crunchy nuggets tend to disappear before they even make it to the dinner plate.