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Cornmeal Fried Okra

Crispy Cornmeal Fried Okra: A Southern Comfort Delight

Welcome to the heart of Southern comfort cuisine with our Crispy Cornmeal Fried Okra recipe. This dish is a tribute to the rich culinary heritage of the American South, where okra becomes a crunchy and flavorful delight through the magic of cornmeal frying. Whether you’re a seasoned Southern food enthusiast or a newcomer to the world of fried goodness, this recipe promises a symphony of textures and tastes that will transport you to a porch-sitting, sweet tea-sipping haven.

Ingredients

For the Fried Okra:

  • 2 cups fresh okra, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Preparing the Cornmeal Fried Okra:

  1. Okra Soak:
    • Place the sliced okra in a bowl and pour the buttermilk over it. Allow it to soak for at least 30 minutes, ensuring the buttermilk coats each piece.
  2. Cornmeal Coating:
    • In a separate bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. This mixture will be the crispy coating for your okra.
  3. Frying Setup:
    • Heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a deep skillet or Dutch oven to 350°F (175°C).
  4. Dredge and Coat:
    • Take each soaked okra piece, allowing excess buttermilk to drip off, and coat it thoroughly in the cornmeal mixture. Ensure an even coating for maximum crispiness.
  5. Fry to Perfection:
    • Carefully place the coated okra in the hot oil, working in batches to avoid overcrowding. Fry until golden brown, turning occasionally for even frying. This usually takes about 3-4 minutes per batch.
  6. Drain and Rest:
    • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the fried okra to a plate lined with paper towels. Let them rest for a few minutes to allow any excess oil to drain.

Crafting the Dipping Sauce:

  1. Sauce Symphony:
    • In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, ketchup, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  2. Serve and Dip:
    • Present your golden brown cornmeal fried okra on a platter alongside the dipping sauce. Watch as they disappear within moments of hitting the table.

Cook Notes

  • Fresh is Best:
    • Opt for fresh okra for the best results. The vibrant green color and firm texture contribute to the overall appeal of the dish.
  • Maintaining the Crisp:
    • Serve the fried okra immediately to preserve the crispy texture. If preparing in advance, reheat briefly in the oven to restore the crunch.
  • Oil Temperature Control:
    • Keep an eye on the oil temperature. If it’s too hot, the coating may brown too quickly, leaving the okra undercooked. Too cool, and the okra may absorb more oil.

Variations

Spicy Kick:

  • For those who love a fiery touch, add a pinch of cayenne pepper directly to the dipping sauce for an extra kick.

Buttermilk Bath Upgrade:

  • Enhance the buttermilk soak by incorporating a tablespoon of hot sauce or a teaspoon of Cajun seasoning for added flavor.

Cheese Lover’s Twist:

  • Mix grated Parmesan or cheddar cheese into the cornmeal coating for a cheesy infusion that takes this classic dish to the next level.

Keto Versions

Almond Flour Alchemy:

  • Replace the all-purpose flour with almond flour for a low-carb alternative in the coating.

Avocado Mayo Magic:

  • Modify the dipping sauce by using avocado mayo to keep it keto-friendly.

Pork Rind Crunch:

  • Crushed pork rinds can be substituted for the cornmeal for a keto-approved crispy coating.

Low-Carb Versions

Coconut Flour Crunch:

  • Swap out the all-purpose flour for coconut flour to reduce the carb content.

Greek Yogurt Dipping Delight:

  • Replace the mayonnaise in the dipping sauce with Greek yogurt for a creamy, low-carb option.

Nuts About Okra:

  • Crushed nuts like almonds or pecans can be incorporated into the coating for a low-carb, nutty twist.

A Crunchy Ode to Southern Traditions

In conclusion, our Crispy Cornmeal Fried Okra recipe is a testament to the irresistible allure of Southern comfort food. Whether you’re savoring the classic version, exploring keto and low-carb alternatives, or adding your own creative twists, this dish is a crunchy ode to Southern traditions.

So, gather your ingredients, heat up that skillet, and revel in the delightful experience of biting into a piece of golden-brown nostalgia. From the crispy exterior to the tender okra within, every bite is a celebration of Southern culinary excellence. Get ready to embark on a journey to the sunny porches and warm kitchens of the South with each mouthwatering morsel of Cornmeal Fried Okra.

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