There doesn't seem to be much of a middle ground when it comes to okra - people either love it or hate it. I happen to love it - fried, grilled, toasted, in soups and stews, mixed into fritters, in a salad, pickled... any way, any time, I love it. So when it's in season and abundant during the summer, I buy a basket from the farmer's market every weekend. Usually it ends up being thrown on the grill or dry-roasted. While fried okra is one of my favorite things ever, it is a bit labor-intensive, not to mention messy and yes, very unhealthy.
This cornmeal-crusted okra is a great alternative to fried okra. It is somewhat healthier, makes little-to-no mess, is very low-maintenance, and comes together quite quickly. It's still crispy like fried okra, yet the okra really shines here since it's not battered and deep-fried. Joey loved it, and suggested that I start making it like this for snacks. Smith couldn't get enough either!
I did something kind of crazy and unconventional with this okra, so check back tomorrow - it was definitely a successful experiment! So okra: love it or hate it?
barely adapted from Bon Appetit, Y'all, by Virginia Willis
- 6 Tbs canola or peanut oil
- 2 lbs okra, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces, stems and tips discarded
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup fine yellow cornmeal
In a large skillet (preferably nonstick), heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the okra, stir to coat, and cover. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the okra is bright green, 10-12 minutes.
Season generously with salt and pepper, then sprinkle the cornmeal over the okra. Stir to coat, and drizzle the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil over the top. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the okra is tender, browned, and crispy, 5-10 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately.