Andrea Reusing is an award-winning chef and a leader in the sustainable agriculture movement. Her latest book, Cooking in the Moment, is the culmination of a year’s seasonal cooking at Reusing’s home using local ingredients and the time management of a busy working mother. Here, the North Carolina cook gives us one of the seasonal recipes from her new book – a starter recipe for Okra – a Southern US vegetable at the height of it’s season in July.
Reusing says of the Hot Tomato Relish: “This keeps for several weeks in the fridge and is good with spiced basmati rice, grilled chicken or lamb, or a creamy corn stew.”
Fried Okra with Indian Spices and Hot Tomato Relish
Yield: Serves 4 as a small appetizer
- 1 teaspoon Coriander seeds
- ¼ teaspoon Fennel seeds
- 1 Clove
- 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
- 1 large Egg
- ¼ cup Buttermilk
- 1 medium Serrano chile, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons Chickpea flour
- 2 tablespoons All-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pints (just under a pound) Okra, stems removed
- Sprinkling Sea salt
- Small pot Hot Tomato Relish
- In a small pan over medium heat, lightly toast the coriander, fennel, and clove until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely; then grind and set aside.
- Toast the cumin seeds in the same fashion and add them to the ground spices.
- Fill a deep, heavy stockpot with about 3 inches of oil. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until a deep-fat thermometer reads 350°F.
- Beat the egg in a small bowl and whisk in the buttermilk and serrano chile.
- In a medium bowl, combine the chickpea flour, all-purpose flour, salt, pepper, and spice mixture.
- Cut the okra on a sharp diagonal into long ¼-inch-thick slices. Put the okra slices into the bowl with the flour mixture and combine, leaving a light dusting on each piece.
- Pour the egg mixture on top and mix with your hands, making sure to coat all surfaces.
- In batches, use a large slotted spoon to carefully lay loosely formed handfuls of 6 to 8 slices into the hot oil and cook for about 2 minutes, turning as necessary until the okra is golden brown and uniformly crisp.
- Drain on a clean brown paper bag, season with sea salt, and serve with the tomato relish.
Hot Tomato Relish
Yield: Makes 2 cups
- 1 tablespoon Expeller-pressed vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon Brown mustard seeds
- 3 Garlic cloves, slivered lengthwise
- ½ teaspoon Cayenne
- 1¼ teaspoons Ground turmeric
- 5 Ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ cup Distilled white vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon Sugar
- Heat the oil in a medium-size heavy nonreactive pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the mustard seeds and garlic, and cook until the garlic is turning light golden brown and the seeds are popping, about 2 minutes.
- Add the cayenne and turmeric.
- Cook for 10 to 20 seconds, and then add the tomatoes, salt, vinegar, and sugar.
- Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft and the relish has thickened slightly.
- Serve hot.
Cooking in the Moment will be released on 5th April 2011.