Embracing the pod

I heard from a lot of people after my column on okra. Most of them spoke with relief at finding out they were not alone in their adoration of the pod – in some cases, slime and all.

Self-described okra fan James McEntire of Chapel Hill, N.C. offered his recipe: “To avoid the slime, blanch the okra in salted water for five or six minutes until crisp-tender, toss with lemon and butter and enjoy. For a dinner, get small pods with more stem and serve them as a first course with hollandaise for dipping. Says summer to me.” Ooh-la-la, I say.

Jacqueline Blaeske of Raleigh, N.C. totally embraces the slime: “I love it! Even with the slippery sap. I simmer it lightly until it is a bright emerald green, put a little salt on it and pig out! It’s interesting, too – it soothes dry mouth.” No prescriptions needed here.

Alas, there’s always an okra-phobe. My friend Jean Anderson of Chapel Hill, a wonderful cookbook writer and general fount of food wisdom, inherited her dislike of okra: “My father, a Yankee with a good sense of humor, used to say, ‘When I become dictator, no farmer will be allowed to grow okra and every farmer will be required to grow an acre of sweet corn every year.’ ”

At least I can’t argue with him about the sweet corn.




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