Okra--you either love it or hate it. I just had to be blunt, because that's really how people feel. For me, I am confessing right now, as a true Southerner, I only like it one way--summertime fresh and fried. I don't want any thick batter or a big heavy crust and please, don't put sauce on it. Now that I've gotten that off my chest, here's a few facts about that green pod that was voted "the most hated vegetable ever"...
- Okra is low in calories: 1 cup of raw okra only has around 30 calories. One cup has a whopping 66% RDA of vitamin K. Okra is also high is calcium, fiber, vitamin C, protein, folate & magnesium.
I know y'all are so glad that I shared these important tidbits about okra! So now, let's get to the good stuff...cooking and eating. Even though I said I like my okra fried, that doesn't mean greasy. I cook mine with very few extra ingredients, in a cast-iron skillet until brown and crunchy.
Image: Courtesy of A Southern Soul
With a sprinkle of good sea salt, you are ready to dig in. It's actually funny when I say I'm making okra--friends kinda roll their eyes but when it comes time to put the plate on the table, there's never any left. Here's the real story--everybody has a little some thing to drink, they stop by the stove to munch on those crunchy, green bits, then we start laughing and telling stories and all that talk about "okra" just seems to fade away...
3 cups washed and sliced fresh okra
1/2 cup homemade buttermilk - 1/2 cup milk with 1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Canola oil for frying
- Make buttermilk by adding vinegar to milk and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Mix cornmeal, flour, salt and pepper in a bowl.
- Heat oil in cast iron skillet.
- In a large bowl, place okra and buttermilk.
- Strain okra in a mesh colander.
- Gently add okra to dry ingredients, turning to coat.
- When oil is hot (test by dropping a small amount of cornmeal into grease & if it starts to sizzle, oil is ready) shake off excess cornmeal on okra and add to skillet.
- Cook for approximately 12 to 15 minutes on medium heat until brown.
- Place on paper towels to drain and sprinkle with sea salt.
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