Pepper Tomato Saute
Approximately 1 bulb elephant garlic, 3 yellow onions, 1 pound of mixed sweet peppers, 5 large tomatoes, 1-2 Tablespoons coriander seeds, (I crush, slightly, with the help of a mortar and pestle. They can be left whole, as well.), 1-2 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Approximately 1 pound of okra to yield 30 small fritters, one package gluten-free cornbread mix from Organicare Farms, 3 whole eggs, 1 pint whole milk, 2-3Tablespoons of your favorite seasonings (I used a leek garlic dried seasoning mix with celery salt and a little dill. Herbes de Provence would work, as well as anything with cinnamon and ginger, like, perhaps, a 5-spice powder blend).
About a cup of cooking oil (grapeseed oil would be ideal for the high heat of fritter-frying).
Pepper Tomato Saute
Warm 2T cooking oil in a heavy skillet until shimmering. Add garlic, sliced thinly, and stir frequently to avoid scorching. Remove from oil. Add onions and peppers, coriander and thyme,and saute until limp. Add chopped tomatoes (I tossed in skins, seeds, and all. No fussy preparation for market demos, weekday meals, or Meatless Mondays, whatever the case may be.) Continue to saute until tomatoes release juice, return reserved garlic to the mix, add vinegar, and continue to simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes over medium heat. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
Prepare fritter batter: To make a thin fritter batter without a lot of fuss, I added 3 whole eggs and 1 pint of whole milk to one package of Organicare gluten-free cornbread mix(which instructed 1 whole egg and 1/4 cup milk for cornbread preparation.) Season batter, as suggested, above.
Clean and dry okra with paper toweling. Slice crosswise, thinly, and add to prepared batter. Stir to coat, avoiding ‘over-stirring’, which will make the batter dense and a bit soggy– a waste of the leavening ingredients. We want light and airy, here, so don’t overwork the batter. Leave. Well. Enough. ALONE.
Heat approximately 1 cup grapeseed oil over medium to high heat in a heavy skillet. When a little drizzled batter begins to sizzle in the heated oil, it’s time to make quick work of these little babies. Using a small ladle, drop approximately 1/8 cup batter into oil, without crowding the skillet. Allow to firm about a minute, then flip, frying for about a minute or two more, or until golden brown.
Remove from heat and allow to drain on paper toweling.
Top Okra fritter with warm Pepper Tomato Saute, garnish with crumbled cheese. Serve warm
For the complete recipe, including market vendors, please visit Chef Maggie’s personal blog, Notes from Maggie’s Farm.