RE: Country Fried Okra
Howard, fried okra is pretty fine as Paul's testimonial proves, but another good way to enjoy okra's goodness is in a succotash. I've not had this dish nearly enough, but I really like it.
Here's a recipe for okra succotash from Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes, and Honest Fried Chicken, Ronni Lundy's fine cookbook of southern country cooking (1991):
This dish is best made in the heart of summer when tomatoes are bursting with juice, corn is full flavored, and little tender pods of okra are tucked into the corners of the produce stand. Sure, you can make it in the winter with frozen corn and okra and canned tomatoes and it will taste pretty good, but in the summer it is sublime.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup (3 stalks) chopped green onion
1/4 cup minced celery
2 ears small kernel yellow corn
1 1/2 cups chopped okra
1 large or 2 medium peeled tomatoes
1-2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt
Heat the oil on a medium-low flame in a large skillet with a lid. Add the green onion and celery. Cut the corn from the stalk * and when the onion and celery are softened, add corn to the skillet and stir. Then add okra that has had its stems removed and been cut into rounds about 1/4 inch thick. Chop tomatoes and add to the skillet with all their juice, then if the mixture looks very dry, add a tablespoon or 2 of water (the dryness will depend on how milky the corn and juicy the tomatoes are). Add salt and pepper to taste, stir everything well, turn heat to low, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking to the pan. The corn and okra juices will make a very thick natural sauce. Served hot, it's especially fine with hot water cornbread. Enough for 4.
* directions for cutting corn off the cob from the recipe for Creamed Corn (page 158):
The real secret to creamed corn's unforgettable taste is in the way the corn is cut from the cob. Too big a kernal results in a skillet of corn that is too tough and not creamy enough.
Too cream corn correctly, you have to use a small, sharp knife. With it you cut down the length of the shucked and silked corncob, taking just the tops off the fresh, raw kernels. After you've cut the corn all around like that, you take a small kitchen spoon, turn its back toward your face, and scrape down and around the cob again, this time scraping out all the rest of the corn and its milk, too. If the corn is really milky, you can use your hand to squeeze the rest of the juice out if you like.