My favorite vegetable these days is okra. It all started last year, when I discovered a recipe for a saute of okra with bacon, tomatoes, and sweet onion, as I hungrily perused the wonderful The Gift of Southern Cooking cookbook. Being a Northerner and all, my only previous experience with okra was, well, slimy and uninteresting. But I could see in the book’s pic that a quick saute, allowing the okra to even crisp a bit, eliminated the slime factor and achieved deliciousness. And it most definitely does, oh yes. The crispy bacon makes the dish insanely good – you’ll be glad to know that a little goes a long way. I confess I didn’t have the tomatoes last night, but the dish is absolutely delicious with just okra and onions. Or even just okra, which is how I often prepare it to have alongside quick chicken gumbo.
While I would have happily tucked into a pan of okra and called it dinner, the rest of the family? Um, no. So I also sauteed some boneless thin-cut pork chops (sprinkled with thyme and salt first) and made a quick little pan sauce with a splash of chicken broth, finished with a tablespoon each of black cherry jam and Dijon mustard. Polenta (grits) would have been the crowning touch, but no one else is a fan, so I boiled and drained a few red potatoes, lightly crushed them, and finished them with a very brief saute in a bit of butter, just on one side to add a little crispness. Finished with a shower of parsley, they’re tasty and pretty, in a jumbled, deconstructed, potato-y sort of way. Even a little – dare I say – Springy? Just a little, mind you, wouldn’t want to go too far and get our hopes up or anything…
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