There’s something about that slippery slimy texture that at first makes me not so sure about this unusual vegetable.
But as I work through to the end of an okra, I’m always ready for more.
The texture and flavor of an okra’s outer pod is reminiscent of asparagus, zucchini and green pepper, all rolled into one.
The noticeable distinction comes from the sticky sap in the center that creates the gelatinous texture.
Over the years, okra has become one of my favorite seasonal vegetables, one that I tend to prepare at least once a week at home.
My family too has acquired the taste for this slippery vegetable, most preferred when breaded and fried. I’ve pickled okra, as well as enjoyed it roasted, sautéed, grilled and added to soups and stews.
Okra is a key ingredient in Southern cooking as well, most notably gumbo. Okra assists with developing the thickness of the hearty Cajun stew.
This week I prepared my breaded and fried okra, the same ingredients used for my homemade chicken fingers (although I bake my chicken fingers rather than fry).
All of the seasoning used gets tossed in with my breadcrumbs, a preferred mixture of Italian and Panko breadcrumbs with seasoned salt, granulated garlic and dried dried oregano.
Sometimes I’ll add a little smoked paprika, onion powder, chili powder, and/or ground cumin to the mix. I will often add a pinch of seasoned salt right after it is cooked as needed to taste.
2 pounds okra, small stem discarded
2 cups four
3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup granulated garlic
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Frying oil, such as sunflower, peanut, or vegetable oil. (You can also use olive oil, but have to keep an eye on the smoke point so it doesn’t burn.)
Set up 3 separate bowls. In one, place the flour; in the second, the egg, and in the third, a tossed mixture of the breadcrumbs and spices.
In a large shallow pan, add enough oil to cover about a ¼-inch of the bottom.
One at a time, roll the okra in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumb. Turn to high heat and once the oil is hot enough to fry, add okra in a single layer at the bottom of the pan, leaving a little space between each piece.
You will likely need to do 2 batches.
Cook for about 2 minutes and flip. Cook for another 2 minutes and check to see if the okras are done. They should have a nice golden brown crust on the outer surface.
The longer you cook, the crispier they will be, but make sure not to burn. Once done, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.
Sprinkle with a little more seasoned salt. They will need a few minutes on the countertop to be cool enough to eat.
You can refrigerate any leftover okra after your meal and reheat in the toaster oven if desired. Serve okra with your favorite dipping sauce such as sweet chili, barbecue or ranch dressing.
Yield: Serves about 4 sides.