Friday, August 26, 2011

Fried okra

Now, a lot of you are looking at the word "okra" and thinking, "Ewwwwwwww! Slimy!"

This means you have never had okra done the right way.

It's true that okra does get slimy if it's boiled/overcooked. But who would ever want to boil okra? Okra is for two things: gumbo, and fried.

Fried okra is the only vegetable my notoriously picky brother would eat growing up. (I know the "fried" part kinds of kills off the "vegetable" part.) And hey, you can fry cardboard and it would taste good.

For my Northern neighbors who may not be familiar with okra, well, it's not widely available in the Boston area. It needs long, hot summers to grow, and a constant soil temperature of at least 70 degrees. It just doesn't get hot enough up here, which is why when you can find it, it's usually $4.99 a pound at Whole Foods. But down South, it grows like weeds, which is why my mother graciously brought me a bag of it when she visited.

Okra, sliced
Egg, mixed well with 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
Mixture of cornmeal, flour, and spices (mostly cornmeal, maybe 1/8 - 1/4 flour, spices to taste like paprika)
Vegetable oil

Dredge the sliced okra in the egg wash, and cover in the cornmeal mixture--standard frying procedure for anything. Get the oil really hot, preferably in a cast-iron skillet, and fry the okra a handful or two at a time, until browned and crackly on all sides. Let drain on paper towels, sprinkle with salt, and serve hot.

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