Thursday, April 28, 2011

Farmers Market Tomato and Okra Salad - serves 4

One of the great things about Dallas is its Farmers Market, especially in the spring.  Although all the vendors who work there, my favorite is located in Shed 1, where local farmers bring their goods that come directly from their dirt as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables.  If you go, you have to visit my sweet friend, Anna, a pint size, Hispanic woman who will TOTALLY take care of you if you visit her first and often.  In fact, I was just there to pick up fresh green beans and left with 4 bags of free vegetables, ranging from corn, okra, apples (from her tree, of course), onions and a few avocados.  She really knows how to take care of me and even fed my kids an afternoon snack of fresh, homegrown mangoes.  It doesn't get better than that, nor does this recipe.  Tomatoes from Betty's (located in the same shed) with a few of the vegetables that Anna provided, sparked a salad that says "hello, spring!" and would have made Anna grow a few inches taller out of pure satisfaction.


2 Beefsteak tomatoes, sliced thick
4 ears fresh corn, roasted with hulls(bake at 375 for 30 minutes, then cut from cob
2 cups okra, stem and ends removed, then sliced (add to a bowl of salt water to remove slime)
3/4 cup ground cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 cup olive oil (vegetable or canola may also be used)
2 eggs, beaten
8 basil leaves
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Balsamic vinegar (optional) for drizzling
Olive Oil for drizzling

Stack 2 slices of tomatoes on plate.  Meanwhile, in two pie pans, add cornmeal mixture to one and beaten eggs in another.  Heat 1 cup olive oil in large pan.  While heating, in batches, add okra to egg then to cornmeal, tossing to coat. Add to oil and cook, tossing occasionally, for about 4-5 minutes per batch.  Drain okra in a paper towel lined bowl, adding salt per batch.  Repeat until all okra has been cooked.
Add okra and corn to plate and top tomatoes with 2 basil leaves.  Season with salt and pepper and drizzle plate with olive oil and balsamic.

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