Aunts Mary and Lin Barker weren’t known for their cooking, but they surprised me on one of my weekend trips to The Farm. We’d always start the day with a good sit-down breakfast – eggs, bacon or country ham and biscuits. This particular Saturday morning breakfast included a side dish of tomatoes, okra and corn chopped up and fried in a bit of bacon grease. It was delicious!
Since then, I’ve taken their inspiration and “kicked it up a notch” as Emeril would say. Here’s my recipe for Southern Saute:
- 2 ears sweet corn
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1 pint okra (preferably smaller pods)
- 1 large sweet onion – Florida Sweet or Vidalia
- 4 strips bacon
- Coarsely chop the onion and tomato. Cut the corn off the cob. Slice the okra. Cook the bacon in a heavy skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside.
- In the bacon grease, saute the onion on medium high heat until translucent, stirring as necessary. Add the corn and let it brown a bit before adding the okra. The okra will cook down, but you don’t want it to get too gooey. Add the tomatoes at the end and just cook enough to get them warm and add a bit of juice to the mix. Salt and pepper to taste – a couple of shakes of Tabasco if you’re so inclined – and you’re done. Sprinkle each serving with crumbled bacon. Makes four servings.
This is not just a breakfast dish, but a great side – especially for any kind of pork. Having inherited those low-country genes, I like to serve it over rice with country ham. [We eat rice with just about everything.] It’s also delicious over grits.
These photos are from the Chattoogaville farm. The snowy shots were taken on our last visit – the day before the sale was closed in January 1996.