Traditionally fried okra is sliced thin and breaded in a cornmeal batter. I've put a little spin on it, however, by keeping the pods whole and making more of a "tempura-style" batter. My mix uses both flour and cornstarch, which adds crispness to the veggies while still keeping them light and airy. I have to serve my fried okra with a generous douse of homemade hot pepper vinegar (which I keep in constant supply in my fridge), but store-bought or cider vinegar will do in a pinch. And If you want to get real crazy, you could throw some thinly sliced lemons into fryer, as well. You know, just because.
So pick up some okra at your local farmers market and try my version. Let me know what you think. Perhaps you'll even convert a few haters...
1 pound okra, preferably small pods
Buttermilk, enough to cover okra
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
Kosher salt and pepper
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Hot pepper vinegar or cider vinegar, to serve
Pour a few inches of peanut oil into a heavy-bottomed pot, preferably cast iron. Heat oil to 350°, using a fry/candy thermometer to make sure the temperature stays consistent.
Meanwhile, soak the okra in enough buttermilk to completely cover. In another bowl, stir together flour, cornstarch, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper, and a pinch of cayenne. Dredge the okra in the dry mixture until well-coated.
Working in small batches, cook the okra in the hot oil until crispy and light golden brown, about 30 seconds to a minute. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the oil at 350°. Remove the fried okra from the oil with a spider or slotted spoon and allow to drain on brown paper bags. While still hot, season the okra with additional kosher salt and a generous splash of hot pepper vinegar. Serve immediately.
Related: Don't Hate Okra
(Images: Nealey Dozier)