day 361: greenmarket okra

101 in 1001 {II}: 038 cook with 12 ingredients I’ve never used before [ongoing]

11: okra. long ago when the earth was flat, a relative of mine made some sort of fried okra with cornmeal. this relative is known for many things, god love her, none of which involve crowd-pleasing cooking (though one does involve grits in a non-culinary way), so the fact that that dish was absolutely delicious has stayed with me for decades. that okra only comes up these days in the context of 1) gumbo or 2) how it is acutely slimy and therefore tricky to prepare doesn't really recommend it, but there it was at the greenmarket, and i apparently had a secret urge to smuggle a bag of okra into my friend's wedding dress fitting/purchase, so: okra! also i sure do enjoy frying things.

fried okra

i followed paula deen's recipe (minus the garlic salt in the seasoning), and it was tasty as hell; something alchemically fabulous happens when one dredges okra slices in buttermilk, and they complemented the seasoned cornmeal-flour mixture wonderfully. i fried quickly in teeny batches in a small saucepan (so i was only ever working with, say, two cups of hot oil), and the apartment, ventilated aggressively, never stank; bonus! in the absence of a dip suggestion (thanks for nothing, deen), i mixed sour cream and mayo with chopped chives, sriracha, pimenton, salt, and pepper; also tasty as hell. will be preparing more okra as soon as is socially plausible.


megan said...

Yum. Should you have more okra to mess around with, bhindi masala is really good. I think this is the recipe I have used as a base http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/quick-and-easy-indian-style-okra/Detail.aspx but it requires heavy doctoring- basically more of all of the spices. Easily twice as much, if not more - just taste as you go. You can use lemon juice instead of amchoor- I've never been able to find it.

rachel (heart of light) said...

I tend to avoid okra due to the slime factor (although I'll sometimes eat it cooked in tomato sauce). I've never had it fried, although I've always figured that's the safest way to eat it, for texture purposes. I need to get over my fear of hot oil and do this.

kidchamp said...

my friend douglas speaks of a mythical and fabulous indian grocery somewhere downtown, megan - i'll have to ask for details. surely they'd be the amchoor hookup (that recipe does sound great). 

rachel, i'm absolutely terrible with hot oil, and was quite shocked at how well this recipe came together; i don't know if this was dumb luck, a really great combination of ingredients (i try frying green tomatoes and zucchini all the time, and the breading always gets listless and falls off - this stuff, on the other hand, took to the buttermilk-dipped okra immediately and stayed put), or both, but yeah, this seems to take care of the slime really nicely. 

in other frying news, fried ravioli blew my mind at a work thing yesterday. ravioli! fried like pierogi and served with a spicy dip! why did i not think of this? (fresh ravioli are everywhere, while fresh pierogi are somewhat harder to find beyond greenpoint and, like, veselka.) time to shop for sweatpants.  

Peonies said...

Interesting.  Our favourite restaurant has an amazing okra dish, maybe my favourite restaurant meal ever, but I've never tried cooking with it because I'm scared of it.  You inspire me. 

And I've never had fried ravioli but I had an incredible fried pasta dish at a German brewery (in Glasgow) which nearly killed me (stodge. overload. can't. move. ever. again.) but fuck, was it worth it.  It was tortellini in some sort of batter.  Oh yeah. 

Amanda said...

Is "grits in a non-culinary way" anything like plain yoghurt in a non-culinary way?


kidchamp said...

if plain yoghurt in a non-culinary way means what i'm guessing it means, no; she once presented another family member with a letter which ended with "...and if you don't, you can kiss my grits. (grits are enclosed.)"

...and they were, in a little instant pouch. we were all at a funeral at the time.  

Celia said...

so good!  do you like chipotle?  some chipotle in adobo blended with some mayo, cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice in the food processor would be the shiznit! 

kidchamp said...

like a mexican corn on the cob treatment - i like the way you think, c.

wabes said...

yes, yes, yes!  i have to blow your mind, here, and tell you that you're eating all of my home food.  our family friend made fried okra for me when i stopped in for lunch last friday (pinckneyville, IL), and "toasted ravioli" is a st. louis standard.  JK said it showed up at a work happy hour the other day (ravioli, not okra), so maybe it's making an east coast invasion?  one that is focused on corporate happy hours?  i am excited for all corporate employees, in such cases.

in other news, dude, what am i going to do with two pounds of very fresh japanese eggplant?!  perhaps the questions should be what am i NOT going to cook?

all this fried food serendipity is just another reason i should get to take everyone home with me when i go.  my folks' house could be like camp for thirtysomethings, i'm realizing.

I'm Revolting said...

No joke, a dribble of drool started making its way out of the corner of my lip as I was reading this post. To the farmer's market to find some okra! I think an all okra dinner is in order.