Deep South Dining


Deep South Dining | Okra Time

Okra is a great southern delicacy, but is also one of the most misunderstood vegetables around. These two views of okra caused author Chris Smith to write the book, The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration. After a 2006 trip to the US from his native land of England, Chris was fascinated with this wonder plant that often gets reduced to being fried or stewed, but is capable of so much more. Malcolm and Carol chat with Chris about his okra journey and also get a history lesson about the beloved Fighting Okra of Delta State University (Cleveland, MS) from archivist Emily Jones.

Okra Fires

(Recipe by Vivian Howard as found in The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration by Chris Smith)


  • 1 pound okra (453g; 20-25 pods), split or quartered lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 turns of the pepper mill or 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the okra with the olive oil, coriander, salt and pepper.
  3. Spread the okra onto your largest baking pan, or two pans if necessary. What's important is that the okra have plenty of room to spread out. If they are piled on top of each other, they will steam, not roast.
  4. Slide the pan onto the middle rack of the preheated oven. After 10 minutes, toss the okra gently with a spatula and rotate your pans if you are using two. Cook an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. When okra is done, it will be brown and crispy in a lot of places but shouldn’t smell burnt. Serve warm or at room temperature as a snack.

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Deep South Dining | Tomatopalooza

Malcolm and Carol have been skillet buddies for a long while and share their love of food, culture, and tomatoes with yall today.Heirloom Tomato Tart from Williams SonomaFor the crust1½ cups (7½ oz/235 g) all-purpose flour½ cup (2½ oz/75 g) cornmeal1 tsp sugar1¼ tsp salt½ cup (4 oz/125 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes⅓ cup (80 ml) plus 1 tbsp ice water3 tbsp olive oilFor the filling2 lb (1 kg) regular and cherry heirloom tomatoes1 tbsp olive oil4 green onions, thinly sliced2 cloves garlic, minced1 ear corn, husk and silk removed, and kernels cut off the cob1 tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil, plus basil leaves for garnishSalt and freshly ground pepper2 oz (60 g) Gruyère cheese, shredded2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese1 large egg yolk whisked with 1 tbsp whole milkTo make the crust, in a food processor, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt and pulse briefly to mix. Scatter the butter over the top and pulse just until evenly distributed but large chunks of butter remain visible. In a measuring cup, whisk together the ice water and olive oil. Gradually add the ice-water mixture to the flour mixture, pulsing just until the dough begins to hold together but small chunks of butter are still visible. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and press into a rough 4-by-8-inch (10-by-20-cm) rectangle. Cover with the plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).Core the regular tomatoes and cut crosswise into thick slices about ⅓ inch(9 mm) thick. Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Place the slices in a single layer on several layers of paper towels, cover with another paper towel, and let drain.Meanwhile, in a frying pan, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the green onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the corn kernels and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, stir in the basil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cool.Place a 15-inch (38-cm) square of parchment paper on a work surface. Transfer the dough to the parchment and roll out into a 9-by-14-inch (23-by-35-cm) rectangle. Slide the parchment with the dough onto a baking sheet. Spread the corn mixture over the dough, leaving a 2-inch (5-cm) uncovered border. Sprinkle the Gruyère and Parmesan evenly over the corn. Arrange the tomato slices in an even layer over the cheeses. Lift the edges of the dough and fold them over the filling, leaving the center uncovered. Brush the edges of the dough with the egg mixture.Bake until the crust is golden and the tomato juices are bubbling, 35–40 minutes. Scatter basil leaves over the tart, cut into slices, and serve warm.Serves 4 to 6.From Williams-SonomaTomato Pie (Estus Kea – Bay St. Louis, MS)6-8 Ripe tomatoes16 Basil leaves chopped2 Bunches green onions chopped (green & white parts)1Pillsbury Roll Out Crust, pre-baked for 10 minutes (or make your own!)1 ½ cups Mozzarella, shredded1 ½ cups Sharp Cheddar, shredded1 ½ cups Mayonnaise1 tsp Cayenne10-inch pie dishPreheat oven to 350 degreesSlice tomatoes and let them drain for an hour or two on a rack.Sprinkle each with Kosher salt and ground pepper (moderate on the salt).Put a layer of tomatoes on the pre-baked crust.Sprinkle a third of basil and a third of onions over tomatoes.Repeat twice.Mix cayenne into mayonnaise in a large bowl.Add the cheese and mix well.Top tomatoes with the cheese mixture.DO NOT SPREAD. Pat the mixture on top of the pie with your hands and make sure it seals along the edge.Bake for 30 minutes(Estus likes to put the broiler on for the last minute to toast the cheese)