When I think about truly farm-fresh cooking okra always comes to my mind. It's kind of that quintessential vegetable that just feels rustic and earthy.
It might surprise you to know that I didn't grow up eating okra at home. It was never something my Mom cooked, perhaps she didn't like the texture. Quite frankly, I don't really love it all that much myself. OK, there, I said it.
But, there's something about a cornmeal crust that gets me every time. A neatly fried, slightly sour from the buttermilk, salted-to-perfection little coating around the okra almost completely forgives its slimy interior texture.
The more I give it a try, when done right, the better it seems to get. So I'm giving it a try here, as part of my Southern Kitchen Bucket List, trying to practice and perfect it as best I can.
You see, I think it really is a beautiful vegetable. The long pods of okra with the soft matte exterior, cut into chunky bites that are almost flower-like in shape. The tiny little white seeds scattered around amidst the silky, sticky liquid inside. It's hard to not try to keep it just as perfect as it began.
Every time we visit the farmers market it just calls my name and I have been trying to experiment with trying it a few different ways to shake things up. Pickled with a Bloody Mary is at the top of the list, in case you were interested.
But this time my Fried Okra was the best yet. Crispy and crunchy and bite-sized. Just the perfect ratio of cornmeal so the texture was dead on. I hope you'll give it a go!
SOUTHERN FRIED OKRA
- 1 lb of okra
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 3/4 cup White Lily Flour
- 1 cup Dixie Lily Corn Meal
- 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Canola or vegetable oil
Gather + rinse okra in cold water. Chop into bite-sized pieces and soak in bowl of buttermilk. While your okra is soaking, combine flour, cornmeal, cayenne powder in a separate bowl and toss dry ingredients until well mixed.
In a cast iron skillet, heat approximately 1.5" of oil. Take buttermilk-soaked okra and toss in flour mixture until all sides are well coated. Carefully place in hot oil and allow to brown on one side before turning to brown the other. Remove with slotted spoon or spatula and place on paper lined cookie sheet to soak up remaining grease. Immediately sprinkle generously with kosher salt while still hot. Enjoy!
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