I decided we needed a big Sunday dinner, my little Luke had been begging for my fried chicken…they all go crazy for Mama’s Fried Chicken (it is really Grannie’s Fried Chicken, but they didn’t know her). What goes better with fried chicken than creamy mashed potatoes, cantaloupe, and…OKRA?!? Oh yes! One of the pleasures of surviving the oppressive heat and humidity. I used to find this, very rarely, in AZ…here, it just takes a trip to my local produce stand. I love going to that little stand…the old fella that runs it with his wife is the sweetest! I don’t make it batter-dipped, like you find in the frozen foods or at Cracker Barrel…I make it like my Grannie taught me.
Start with okra, of course. Here, it is known as “a mess of okra”, I didn’t need a big mess ;).
So after you give these a quick rinse, slice them thinly…perfect uniformity is not necessary. If you have never dealt with okra before, you should be warned that they are slimy when you cut them…like a kid with a cold…kinda gross if you don’t know what to expect. I had to wash my knife half way through…don’t let this deter you, they are well worth the slime.
Now, in a bowl add corn meal (2 parts) and flour (1 part) with some salt and pepper (to your liking).
Mix the dry ingredients, and toss in the sliced okra. This is where the sliminess is helpful :), the cornmeal mixture sticks easily. I use my hands to toss the okra around.
Once all of the okra is nicely coated, get your skillet ready. This is one of the rare occasions that I cook anything other than cornbread in my cast iron skillet. If you don’t have one, you can use a regular skillet or frying pan. I add a bit of oil to the bottom and turn the heat on med-high. Add the okra in, but don’t just dump the bowl, you don’t want the excess flour and cornmeal in the pan. I use my hand to ‘sift’ the okra.
Let it sit for a bit, you don’t want to mess with it too much. After a few minutes you can use a big spoon to start turning scoops over. Some will already be nice and golden brown.
You may need to adjust the heat up or down, don’t have it so high that it burns. Super dark brown is fine…black, not so good. If you turn it too often, you will lose the ‘breading’ & that is what makes it so delightfully crunchy…patience…
Getting there! See some of the darker golden brown…go ahead and sample one of those!
Darling husband grabbed a spoonful everytime he walked by! I hope you enjoy okra this way.
Today’s secret revealed…I’m getting ready to attempt my very first hoe cake! I’m going with a biscuit type rather than a cornbread type…gonna have to use my cast iron skillet for this too! On a roll with breaking my own rule :).
- 2 pounds fresh okra, thinly sliced
- 1 cup corn meal
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½-1 teaspoon kosher salt (adjust to taste)
- ½-1 teaspoon pepper (adjust to taste)
- cooking oil (I use canola)
- In a bowl, combine corn meal, flour, salt and pepper.
- Toss thinly sliced okra in corn meal mixture, until coated.
- Add oil to coat entire bottom of skillet and heat on medium-high.
- When pan is hot, add okra in (sift through hands over bowl to avoid excess corn meal mixture).
- Stir and turn occasionally until dark golden brown and crisp.
Linking up with The Southern Institute’s “Creative Me Link Up”!