Ode to Okra, part 1 – Cornmeal Crusted Okra


Growing up in New York City, I never even heard of okra.  When I first started experimenting with cooking in college, I was home and wanted to make a brunswick stew, which called for okra. So I asked my mother what okra was, she shrugged and said, dismissively, “some southern vegetable, we don’t use it.”

Fast forward 20 years to my living in southern Delaware – the Northern South.  Somehow I ended up with okra seeds, so I planted them in my garden to see what would happen.  I was rewarded with hibiscus-like “trees” growing in my garden!

Although I still did not know what to do with okra, I kept planting it just for the aesthetic of the plant.

In the past few years I have discovered 3 distinct ways of cooking okra that I love:

  • Pan-seared
  • Indian – Bindi Chamatkar
  • Cornmeal-crusted

This is my first installment of Ode to Okra – one of my favorite vegetables…

Cornmeal Crusted Okra

1 lb okra (from the garden)

1 egg (from Farmer Kim)

3/4 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp salt

safflower oil

Slice okra into about 1/2 ” pieces.

Beat egg in a shallow bowl.  In a second shallow bowl, mix cornmeal, parmesan, cayenne and salt.

Working in batches (it took about 5 batches to do 1 lb), dip okra in egg, toss to coat.

Remove from egg and toss in cornmeal mixture to coat.  Shake off excess.

Cover the bottom of a large skillet with safflower oil, about 1/4 inch deep.  Heat over medium-high heat.  Add okra.  Do not overcrowd the pan (thus the 5 batches).  cook about 2 – 3 minutes, toss to flip the pieces and cook on the other side for anothe 2 minutes, til golden.  Add more oil between batches, if necessary.  Bring it back up to heat before adding the okra.

Drain on paper towels.

Serve family style and enjoy!

Serves 4 (but I have to admit I can eat the whole batch myself!)



2 Comments Add yours

Let me know what you think of this post, and if you try the recipe, please let me know how it was and any suggestions you have. Thanks, Andrea

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