Faux Fried Okra: Living Southern in the No-Fry Zone

Gentle Readers, though deeply Southern, the Practical Cook does not deep fry. There’s the mess, oil, and health factors, and I find that no home frying can compare to the satisfying crunch of commercial fried. So what’s a home cook to do with okra? Today’s question comes from a reader who called herself Okra Incompetent. Heaven forfend! I can help anyone who is not a hater, and I’ll just try to convert you people. (Don’t talk to me about the “slime,” honestly.)

Fried Okra, Dori Sanders Style

Fried Okra, Dori Sanders Style

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Faux Fried Okra Recipe

This is adapted from the wonderful Dori Sanders’ Country Cooking Cookbook.

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cornmeal
salt and black pepper to taste
1 to 2 pounds fresh okra, washed, stemmed, and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch or smaller slices with a very sharp knife
a few Tablespoons of vegetable oil (such as canola, grapeseed, or peanut)

1. In a shallow dish, like a pie plate, combine flour, cornmeal, salt (be generous here, like at least 1/2 teaspoon, and pepper. Toss the okra in this mixture with a spoon until well-coated.

Toss the dredged okra in the oil to coat.

Toss the dredged okra in the oil to coat.

2. In a large, heavy skillet, heat a few Tablespoons (like around 3) of oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Put the dredged okra in the skillet, stir quickly to toss the okra and the oil, until the okra is coated, the reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, until the okra is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently to cook and brown evenly.

3. Remove cover and cook an additional 5 minutes to brown more. Line your serving dish with paper towels to absorb extra oil, and serve promptly!

Note: Some people add dice potato to their okra, the Practical Cook is not one of them. She ate around the potatoes as a child, and exerts her power here in omitting them. Feel free to add them back in. Do not skimp on the salt, and toss out any gargantuan okra. You’ll become a hater if you chomp on one that’s overgrown.

Summer Thanksgiving Feast

Summer Thanksgiving Feast

Thanks for the question, OI, and I hope your okra turned out well! Where do you stand in the great okra debate? Post a comment here, don’t be shy! Or Tweet away.

Send questions, blog suggestions, and birthday presents to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading the Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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One more recipe, coming up, Marinated Vegetable Salad.

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