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Monday, August 23, 2010


by Wendy Swat Snyder

Low Country staples like okra, collard greens, grits and shrimp drive Chef Craig Deihl’s seasonal menu at Cypress Lowcountry Grille in Charleston. An advocate for animal pasturing and sustainable fishing, Deihl was among the culinary notables tapped to contribute to One Fish, Two Fish, Crawfish, Bluefish - The Smithsonian Sustainable Seafood Cookbook.

“The real challenge in doing a seasonal menu is changing the menu as often as the products change,” says Deihl.

During the hottest months of the year, okra is a mainstay on the menu, matched up with a Deihl favorite – pastured pork. “The quality of the meat is affected by the way the pig is raised, its diet, how it’s slaughtered,” notes Deihl. “All these factors make a huge difference in the final product.”

Chef Deihl's recipe for Pickled Okra follows. Deihl says buy extra okra so you can enjoy it later in the year when it’s not available.

Pickled Okra
1 cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
3 tbsp.salt
1 tbsp. mustard seeds
4 allspice berries
1 tbsp. mustard seeds
1 tbsp. celery seeds
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic
3 cups okra, washed (look for small, firm, green pieces)

In a non-reactive pot combine all ingredients except the okra. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the okra and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and shock the pot in ice water to cool rapidly. Transfer the pickled okra to glass jars and store in the refrigerator for at least 1 week before using. The pickled okra will keep for about one month.

Keegan-Filion Farm

Joseph Fields Organics

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