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By Judith Ramirez

CSMS Magazine Staff Writer

If you haven’t tried this dish, you should. Fried okra is a dynamic side-dish for all sorts of entrees. But it’s as addictive as popcorn, so we often pass it during cocktail hour as a snack. Keep the fried okra warm in the oven in an uncovered earthenware dish. When the first guests arrive, fill a few butcher-paper or newspaper cones with the okra, shake some Chile flakes and sea salt over them, and pass the cones around while the guests are tucking into their cocktails.

The recipe is as follow:

4cups peanut or canola oil

2 large eggs, beaten

¾ cup whole milk

2 cups stone-ground cornmeal

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds fresh okra, sliced into 1/2 –inch-thick rounds (about 7 cups)

Crushed red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

Sea salt to taste (optional)

Things to remember

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Heat the oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or a 3-quart enameled cast-iron casserole until the temperature on a candy thermometer reads 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk until they are well combined, about 1 minute. In a medium bowl, sift the cornmeal, flour, salt, and pepper together twice. Add the okra to the okra to the egg mixtures and toss until it is evenly coated. Scatter half the dredge over the okra and toss to coat. Scatter the remaining dredge over the okra and toss again.

Transfer about 1/3 of the okra to the oil with a slotted spoon and fry in batches, turning as necessary with the spoon, until the slices are golden brown all over, about 2 minutes per batch.

Using the slotted, transfer the okra to a plate lined with a double thickness of paper towels. When it has drained, transfer to a ceramic serving dish that holds heat well and place in the oven until ready to serve.

Dust the okra with red pepper flakes and sea salt, if desired, and pass a cruet of pepper vinegar (recipe follows) around the table when you serve.

Note: Judith Ramirez reports on kitchen recipes. She lives and works in Palm Coast, Florida. She may be reached at publisher@csmsmagazine.org

 

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