Yes, I ate fried okra for dinner. I also ordered and tasted a bit of crawfish etouffée and “gumbo zaire” that had plenty of tasty greens in it, but the vast bulk of my dinner consisted of fried okra. Why? Well, first of all, fried okra is absolutely delicious. I love it. And by “love” I mean LUV. My dining companion asked, in a philosophical tone, “Molly, why do you like okra?”
“I like how it’s sort of slimy. And the flavor is subtle and earthy and a bit nutty,” I replied.
She nodded in deep agreement as she popped another nugget in her mouth.
The second reason I ate so much fried okra last night is that there was so much fried okra last night. After ordering we asked our server if it was enough food. “Oh yeah,” he said, “you got more than enough here. The fried okra alone is gonna do you in.”
As professional (and dare I suggest championship?) eaters, we took this as a bit of a challenge. But he was right. The sheer amount of fried okra did me in. The picture above was taken at the end of the meal. Looks like we hardly started, doesn’t it? It was good, too. In no way greasy, tasty batter, and sprinkled with a chile pepper salt that I wanted to lick from the plate. My dining companion tried thinking of the golden bites as puffed cereal to help her eat more; I thought of them as popcorn. But eventually you know it’s not popcorn and, as much as you might want to, you really couldn’t eat another bite.
Maybe the reason I couldn’t tackle the fried okra as I might have liked was that I tested a friend’s claim earlier in the day. While I lacked the time and resources (not to mention stomach) to check out every po’ boy in town, I did make my way to Parkway Bakery and Tavern. My shrimp po’ boy below was excellent. As were the oyster and roast beef po’ boys of my eating companions. Alligator and sausage gumbo was good. Potato salad–part mashed potato, part egg salad–was awesome.
And yes, I ate the whole thing. Who knew fried shrimp, lettuce, tomato, and mayo on a giant-ass French-like roll could be so good? A bit of pepper sauce didn’t hurt it at all.