As I was walking through Publix the other day, I passed the produce section and got excited because the okra looked great. Okra season has begun! This is one of my favorite side dishes growing up and still is today. Last year we enjoyed roasting okra, but frying okra is my all time favorite way to cook it and I maintain that I make the best fried okra around (thanks to my mom). Lucky for me, Susu and I decided to get back together last night for another rendition of Crockpot Tuesday and Coastal Kelder, and she asked me to make a veggie – Obviously I was going to fry up a pound of okra for her, Danielle and Catherine!
- 1 lb (or more) fresh okra
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup flour
- Salt / pepper to taste
- Peanut or vegetable oil
- Paper bag and cast iron skillet, if you really want to make it the right way 😉
Fill your iron skillet (or normal pan, if you have to) with about a half inch of oil and put it on medium heat. While the oil is heating up, wash and slice the okra into half inch or smaller pieces (smaller if you like it a lil crispier). Pour the cornmeal, flour, salt, and pepper in the brown bag, add the okra and shake until the okra is covered in the cornmeal mixture.
Now comes the tricky part.. the oil needs to be at the perfect temperature to cook the okra just right. Once you think it’s hot enough, put a few okra slices in the oil to test it out. Ideally they should stay at the top, bubble, and take about 10-15 minutes to fully cook.
If they get brown too quick, then the oil is too hot and if they sit at the bottom or slowly bubble then the temperature is too low. Once you’ve found the perfect temperature, put in enough okra to fill the skillet (1 level deep, with a little room in-between them, like below) and cook them a batch at a time.
When the centers are getting light brown, they’re ready! Dry and cool on a paper towel, season with a little more salt / pepper and devour!
This version of fried okra focuses more on the vegetable and crispiness, than a bunch of breading and the cornmeal to flour ratio is key. I have been known to eat a pound of fried okra by itself for dinner because sometimes that’s all you need. These lil guys are addicting though, so if you plan to share, make plenty!
Last night Susu made a huge platter of sesame honey chicken with risotto, plus the fried okra, so we had lots of food and each of us had multiple servings. Once we had food in our bellies, we started working on our the next craft…