22 January 2009

Outstanding In The Field

Jim Denevan had a great idea. Don't just buy your produce locally, but eat it locally, too. And when I say locally, I mean in the actual garden or farm where the food was raised. Set up tables and cook right in the garden. With that idea, Outstanding In The Field was born. Since 1999, Jim and his intrepid band have crisscrossed the country arranging dinners from California, to New York, to New Orleans.

In 2008 Outstanding in the Field became a cookbook, chronicling Jim's adventures in far flung fields. Here's a recipe from a dinner at Full Moon Farm in Athens, Georgia.

Since we grow a lot of okra at Doe Run Farm, we thought we'd share this recipe with you.

Deep-Fried Okra With A Buttermilk-Semolina Crust

Vegetable oil for deep frying
1 pound young okra pods
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups semolina flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Kosher salt

Pour the oil into a large, deep pat, such as a Dutch oven, so it is at least 2 1/2 inches deep but comes up no more than halfway up the sides of the pot. Attach a candy or deep-frying thermometer to the side of the pot and heat oil to 375 F over medium heat.
While the oil is heating, remove the stems from the okra, being careful not to cut open the pods. pour the buttermilk into a medium bowl. Mix together the semolina, flour and a pinch of salt in a wide, shallow baking dish or pan. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Dip okra pod in the buttermilk, shake off excess, and then place it in the semolina mixture, coating all sides. Tap off any excess and put the okra on the parchment-lined sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining okra.
When the oil is ready, use a mesh skimmer to move the okra in and out of the hot oil. Fry okra in batches until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the okra pods from the oil and transfer them to paper towels to drain.
When all of the okra has been fried, season with salt.
As soon as it is warm, head out to your garden for supper.

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