Friday, June 3, 2011

Family Recipe Friday...Fried Poke

One thing I learned from he first year we moved back to West Virginia, when I was only thirteen years of age, is that a man [or woman!] need never go hungry in this State!

One of the first meals Mama ever made us once we were settled was Fried Poke.

This is a poke plant. It's the green shoots that you want for this particular dish. And man-oh-man... you haven't eaten until you've eaten fried poke!!!

Take the young green shoots and cut them into about 3-inch lengths, splitting them seems to make them even more tender.

Next whisk together 1-egg and about 1/4 cup of milk.

Now we'll make a dredge.

Place 1-cup of yellow cornmeal in a bowl, and place to your left. Set the bowl with egg and milk directly before you. And place a third bowl with 1-cup all-purpose flour to your right.

Wash and dry the poke. [Simly pat dry with a clean dish towel, or paper toweling.]

Using a large, cast-iron skillet, place about 3-4 tablespoons of good shortening in the pan over medium-high heat [Mama always used lard, but since folks seldom ever use that any more, you can substitute with vegetable shortening or oil if desired].

Once your skillet has reached it's full heat, roll the poke stems in the cornmeal. This will give it a bit of a "tooth" to allow the remaining dredge to stick to it. Now dip in the egg & milk mixture, and then roll in flour. [You can "double-dredge" if you want extra batter, simply by repeaing the process at this point, or go directly to the next step.]

Place the poke stem in the skillet and repeat with remaining stems until all have been dredged and are in the skillet.

Allow poke to fry over medium-high heat until stems are lightly browned and crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside.

They have a somewhat "okra-like" flavor. Salt and pepper as desired.

Kids enjoy this because it is crispy on the outside.

I have always loved this, because it was something that we got directly from the edges of the woods surrounding our home, directly from nature. And it was FREE!!!

This pairs especially well with fresh caught trout! Add some hush puppies to the side... and you've got a meal that is absolutely out of this world!!!

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