When I told my husband I was making fried okra he replied, 'you don't have to fry it for me to eat it'. WHAT!? Of course, I'm frying the okra, we live in the south and that's how we're eating it tonight. ;)
Before I moved to Tennessee I had never eaten okra, but boy once I got a taste of it I never looked back, only forward to when I could have it again.
My friend Mary Anne knows I love to cook and has been a constant supporter of me following my cooking dreams. One day she gave me a bag full of fresh okra and I felt it was a sign. A sign that I had to finally make fried okra for myself.
I set out reading and researching recipes, looking for inspiration to create my own version. I wasn't finding anything inspiring. By happen-chance, I was having lunch with some born and raised southern gals. This is when I discovered the recipe. Mary Lyons let me in on a little secret. You see it seems the perfect fried okra doesn't require, and in fact shouldn't, have tons of spices and fancy breading. All I was going to need was egg, cornmeal, and a little salt. Done.
So, we have Mary Anne to thank for the okra and Mary Lyons to thank for sharing her recipe! It takes a village, especially in the kitchen! :) (And apparently having “Mary” friends helps too!)
64 ounces of canola oil (or your oil preference) (see note below you may need less depending on the pot you use to deep fry)
3-4 handfuls of okra. Choose the smaller ones, they are more tender and tastier (another tidbit I picked up at lunch).
4-5 eggs - lightly beaten
3 cups of cornmeal
1. Into a a large pot pour in the canola oil, using a deep fry thermometer bring the oil up to 300 degrees f. *Note if you're not using a deep pot you may not need as much oil. Adjust accordingly so that the okra has room to float and move around to get browned and crispy.
2. Rinse the okra, trim off both ends and discard. Cut the center part into bite size pieces.
3. In a large to medium sized bowl lightly beat the eggs.
4. On a flat, rimmed dish place 1-2 cups of the cornmeal, add more as you go.
5. Set up an assembly line starting with the okra, then the egg, then the cornmeal. Take a small handful of okra place into the egg, stir slightly to cover then toss in the corn meal. Test 1 piece of okra in the oil, if it starts to fry immediately add the rest of the first batch, stir a little so the pieces don't stick together. *Note - keep an eye on the oil temp, if your batch is too big you may need to turn up the temp so it keeps frying, but only do so a little at a time.
6.Continue with the assembly line working in small batches at a time. Don't coat the okra in the egg and cornmeal until you are ready to fry it (the batter gets mushy).
7. After you remove the golden brown okra place on a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt. I like to use fine grey sea salt. Serve and eat immediately!