A few days ago, somebody asked me to clarify the pronunciation of the name of this forum — Lagniappe. I admit that the word looks a bit foreign, and it certainly isn’t heard much in these northern climes.
Lagniappe —pronounced lan-yap — is a Creole term, a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase (such as a 13th doughnut when buying a dozen), or more broadly, “something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure.” According to my research, the word came to the English language from Louisiana French and was probably derived from the Amercian-Spanish phrase la ñapa —something that is added.
It was one of my late mother’s (aka DotMom) favorite words, so I adopted it as an homage to my food-writing parental predecessor.
The title of this blog is especially appropriate today, as we continue on with recipes gleaned from the local farmers markets. Our local producers not only share their beautiful bounty of fruits and vegetables, but also offer tips for eating and preparing their wares —a form of lagniappe.
Pat Jones of the Sibley, Iowa, area, is the only purveyor of okra that I’ve spotted at the Tuesday market. And like the term lagniappe, this vegetable might be a bit more familiar to people who have lived in the southern U.S. According to a sheet that Pat hands out to her customers, Okra is rich in fiber, vitamin B6 and folic acid. Here’s one of Pat’s okra recipes.
Okra with Tomatoes
Fry 4 slices bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp; drain well. Crumble and set aside.
To the skillet, add ½ cup chopped onion; reduce heat to low and cook for 10-15 minutes, until tender, stirring occasionally.
Add 1½ pounds fresh okra, washed, stemmed and sliced about ½ -inch thick; 4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced; 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste) and pepper to taste; and a dash of crushed red pepper. Stir and simmer for about 20 minutes, until okra and tomatoes are just tender.
Sprinkle with diced bacon just before serving.
Makes 6 servings.
Okra a bit out of your vegetable comfort zone? Leona Marco of Bigelow, who runs a farmers market stand along with husband Paul, offers a couple of preparations for a veggie that’s a bit more prolific around these parts —zucchini. Zukes, of course, were one of DotMom’s favorite things to write about. I’m not quite as keen on the green squash as she was, but both of these preparations sound delish.
Slice 1 medium whole zucchini into ¼-inch rounds; set aside.
In one bowl, slightly beat 1 egg. In another bowl, mix 1½ cups plain or Italian bread crumbs with ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano cheese.
Put a large skillet on the stove over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
While the skillet heats, dip each slice of zucchini into the egg wash and then into the breadcrumbs. Fill the pan with zucchini slices and let brown for a few minutes, then flip to the other side. When browned on both sides, remove from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towel.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Line a casserole dish with peeled, sliced zucchini. Top with sliced onion, ½ cup instant rice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Top with 1 can stewed tomatoes, then ½ cup grated cheddar cheese. Cover with sliced raw bacon.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until bacon is cooked and dish is bubbly.
Next time this blog rolls around, the harvest of recipes will continue. If you have a seasonal favorite to share, email it to me at email@example.com; or mail to Lagniappe, Daily Globe, Box 639, Worthington 56187.