By Kelly Bogard
I think it’s safe to say that most Southerners know their okra.
It’s a main dish. Or side dish. And there’s so many ways to make ’em! Like pickled, boiled or grilled. But I like my okra fried.
Okra grows well across much of Texas–in fields and backyard gardens. And it’s in season right now. As I was thinking about all of the ways to prepare it, I kept coming back to a way to make a quick recipe with less mess. And then it hit me.
By eliminating the step of cutting up the okra, you can save yourself a few minutes and some clean up. And though it may not seem like a big deal, those few extra minutes to work on another part of the meal are pretty important in my kitchen. Also, by frying the entire pod, you are sealing in the flavors, so they don’t escape onto your cutting board.
Start by whisking together the egg and milk in a large shallow dish. Then place half of the pods into the milk mixture and coat on both sides. If you let them sit in the liquid for a minute or two, it will help with the texture. I like to use the medium-sized ones, so they aren’t too tough. The big ones I cut up to fry the same way.
While the first set of okra is soaking, mix together the flour, cornmeal and seasonings in a second shallow dish or plate. Also, start heating your grease to 350 degrees. You want it to be about 1/2 inch deep in the pan. Then dredge the soaked okra in the flour mixture.
Since you are doing this in two batches, move the first batch to the hot oil and fry on each side for a minute or two until golden. While the pods are frying you can prepare the second batch. Once they are done cooking, move them to a paper towel to wipe away the excess grease and repeat the steps with the remaining pods. You want to serve them pretty quick, so they are still warm on the inside.
These green and golden pods are great for a side dish of a good southern supper or even as an appetizer. They’re quick and easy to make! Be sure to check out other fresh produce available in season at the markets this time of year. And from all of us at Texas Table Top, enjoy!