We’ve established that I am a Southern girl… and I’m about to prove it again with a story of my childhood in the South.
When I was a kid, we’d sometimes drive to Mississippi for fried catfish. Growing up in Memphis, we were close to the border. We didn’t visit other states daily, but it was certainly easy enough to make a trip if we had a reason. And that reason, oftentimes, was food.
I remember trekking south with friends and family members for special occasions. We’d take the backroads and head on down for some fried catfish… and whenever we got this Southern delicacy, we would also order hushpuppies, fried pickles and fried okra. As an added bonus, we’d sometimes get dessert, too, assuming we weren’t stuffed to the gills with all kinds of fried goodness already. Because if you’re driving any distance for a meal, you might as well have a decadent sweet, too. (I’ll take two slices of the strawberry cake, mmkay?)
I’ve been kind of been obsessed with fried okra since I was a kid. And when I say kind of, I mean it’s a guilty pleasure of mine, and it is something I occasionally crave for no reason other than it is delicious. As an added bonus, I love it because it reminds me of my childhood, plain and simple.
Fast forward to adulthood.
As someone who tries to make dishes a little healthier and tries to eat a balanced diet, I don’t fry things at home. If I want something fried, I order the dish at a restaurant, and I’ll view it as a little indulgence. I’ve come to learn that fried goodies, while tasty, aren’t the best things for me, and if I overindulge, they’ll make me feel sick.
Because of this, I’ve never actually technically fried anything at home.
ALSO, I’m kind of a wimp… and I am terrified of accidentally setting my beautiful kitchen on fire. (Real talk, y’all: Ever since the incident where the grill went up in flames, I’ve been wary. More than I used to be, that is.)
… This okra recipe is the exception to my whole frying rule, and since it’s technically fried in the oven, it’s a lot less stressful to me than babysitting a pot of oil. It’s also a lot less messy.
A word to the wise, though: This okra feeds a crowd, so make sure you’ve got some friends or family members over to help you eat!
Here’s how you make this delightful dish:
- 2 cups fresh okra, sliced
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 475°.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Pour the olive oil onto a baking sheet, and make sure all surfaces are covered. Sprinkle the oil liberally with seasoned salt and black pepper before setting aside.
- Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour the buttermilk into another bowl.
- Working in small groups, transfer okra into the buttermilk, allowing a few moments to soak before moving into the flour and cornmeal mixture. Coat the okra pieces completely in the mix, then move to the baking sheet.
- Continue this process until all of the okra has been breaded and placed on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the okra from the oven, flipping with a spatula.
- Place back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes (or until cooked through.)
- Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, and serve warm with ketchup and hot sauce.
Have you ever oven fried anything?