Fried Okra

American South

Okra. Equally loved and hated. Haters first description is "slimy!” Yes, it can be, due to an inferior product or cooking method. First, you must have incredibly fresh okra. Newer varieties, which have large pods and longer shelf life, are superior. Second, okra must be kept dry, or it deteriorates quickly. Wash just before cooking, then immediately dry.

Fried okra means different things to different people. Battered or dusted? Cornmeal, flour, or both? Egg or no egg? Having tried them all, this dusted version is the best. A light crispy crust with a bite of cornmeal lets the okra flavor and firm texture come through. I fry in a wok to contain splatters, so it takes 4 to 5 batches ~Joanna
1 pound okra
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne (or to your taste)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup neutral oil for frying (more as needed, depending on your vessel)
1 Place a heatproof serving platter in the oven and preheat to 200°F.

2 Tip and top the okra - remove the stem end just below the shoulder, and remove the pointy end. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

3 In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, and all the seasonings.

4 Heat oil in a deep pan over medium-high heat.

5 Place milk in a small bowl. Grab another bowl to mix your batches. This will keep the flour mixture from becoming a saturated clumpy mess.

6 Grab as much okra as you think will make a batch, and toss it in the milk. Stir quickly to coat, then remove with a slotted spoon and toss into the empty bowl. Add a good portion of flour mixture and gently toss to coat.

7 Place a piece of okra in oil to test. When ready, it should immediately bubble. Place first batch in the oil. Resist the urge to stir. After 1 to 2 minutes gently stir until crisp and golden. Remove with slotted spoon to paper towel-lined plate.

8 Repeat with second batch. While second batch cooks in the oil, move the first batch to the heated platter in the oven.

9 Repeat until all okra is cooked. Serve immediately.

servings  use metric
original recipe yield: 4 servings

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