This is what I had for lunch today...
An no, it isn't fried okra! Okra does grow well here in our desert summer, (ask me about the 15 ft tall okra I grew a few years ago,) but a native species of Devils Claw (Proboscidea parviflora). Devils claw, once cultivated by the native peoples as a food and fiber source, grows pretty much like a weed around here, and these were growing along the fence at the community garden where I have my plot.
I have also collected them from dry washes in the late summer/early fall (i.e now). You want to pick the green pods when they are still young and tender. If they get too big the stiff fibers toughen up and you can't cut into them easily, nor chew them. Let them go to seed and they turn into dangerous claws that you DON'T want to step on, but make nice decorative items for your natural altars or desert themed centerpiece for the table.
Fried up in some oil with a gluten free flour mix, they taste an awful lot like okra, slimey like okra too. Quite delicious if I say so myself!
here's my recipe:
Fried Devils Claw Pods
6-8 small immature pods of Devils Claw, sliced into rounds
1/2 c gluten free baking flour from Bob's Red Mill ( or any flour you like, including cornmeal)
1 tsp salt
couple of shakes of pepper
1 tsp chile powder
olive oil or butter for frying
slice the pods into rounds. Beat one egg in a bowl, and in a second bowl combine flour and spices. Dip slices into the egg bath, and then into the flour. Fry on medium heat about 4 min each side. Serve hot and enjoy!