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Southern Fried Okra

Southern Fried Okra

There’s no way one can buy just a little okra when you are lucky enough to find gorgeous, fresh okra. And if you have fresh okra, well you have to make fried okra!

Fried okra is another Southern staple. Okra, dusted with cornmeal and flour simply seasoned with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Nothing complicated but everything wonderful.

This is a simple dish with one trick before you start. Soak the sliced okra in cold water. Soaking sliced okra in cold water for about 5 minutes helps to reduce that peculiar sliminess that is inherit to okra. From there, drain it then dust it in the cornmeal and flour before a quick fry to crispy goodness!

About slicing – both my Grandmothers sliced okra crosswise into bite size pieces, about ½” each when frying. But having spent much time with Emily and Matthew in many wonderful dining spots in Atlanta, I’ve seen this Southern treat sliced and served lengthwise.

And the beauty of this version, not only does it keep that unique pod shape, it’s also a perfect finger food, fit to serve as an appetizer. Add a side of ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping and it’s hard to beat!

No matter how you slice it – fried okra is a classic Southern treat and for good reason!

Southern Fried Okra

1 pound fresh okra pods

2 cups cornmeal

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning the cooked okra

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

2 to 4 cups vegetable oil for frying –the amount depends upon the size pan you use for frying

Before you start: It’s helpful to have a thermometer clipped to the side of the pan to keep an eye on the heat of the oil.

Slice the fresh okra pods lengthwise or crosswise. Place the cut okra in a large bowl and cover with cold water; soak for 5 minutes. Drain the okra in a sieve or colander.

In a large bowl whisk together the cornmeal, flour, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and the pepper.

Using a deep skillet or medium saucepan, pour in enough oil until it’s about 1/3 of the way up the side. Don’t overfill or the oil will overflow when you add the okra. Heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 375-degrees.

Grab one or two handfuls of the sliced okra and toss in the cornmeal and flour mixture, coating to cover all sides of the okra.

Slowly lower the coated okra into the hot oil – don’t crowd the pan. Cook until the okra is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon transfer the cooked okra to an ovenproof dish that is lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with additional kosher salt. Keep warm in a 200-degree oven while you continue cooking the remaining okra.

The temperature of the cooking oil will drop below 375-degrees after frying a batch of okra – just let the oil come back to temperature before frying anymore.

Serve as a side dish or as an appetizer with ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping.

Southern Fried Okra, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

August 27, 2018
: 6 to 8

Fried okra is a Southern staple. Okra, dusted with cornmeal and flour simply seasoned with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Nothing complicated but everything wonderful.

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 pound fresh okra pods
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning the cooked okra
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 to 4 cups vegetable oil for frying –the amount depends upon the size pan you use for frying
Directions
  • Step 1 Before you start: It’s helpful to have a thermometer clipped to the side of the pan to keep an eye on the heat of the oil.
  • Step 2 Slice the fresh okra pods lengthwise or crosswise. Place the cut okra in a large bowl and cover with cold water
  • Step 3 soak for 5 minutes. Drain the okra in a sieve or colander.
  • Step 4 In a large bowl whisk together the cornmeal, flour, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and the pepper.
  • Step 5 Using a deep skillet or medium saucepan, pour in enough oil until it’s about 1/3 of the way up the side. Don’t overfill or the oil will overflow when you add the okra.
  • Step 6 Heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 375-degrees.
  • Step 7 Grab one or two handfuls of the sliced okra and toss in the cornmeal and flour mixture, coating to cover all sides of the okra.
  • Step 8 Slowly lower the coated okra into the hot oil – don’t crowd the pan. Cook until the okra is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon transfer the cooked okra to an ovenproof dish that is lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with additional kosher salt.
  • Step 9 Keep warm in a 200-degree oven while you continue cooking the remaining okra.
  • Step 10 The temperature of the cooking oil will drop below 375-degrees after frying a batch of okra – just let the oil come back to temperature before frying anymore.
  • Step 11 Serve as a side dish or as an appetizer with ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping.


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