Food & Entertaining - Garden to Table

Spice up summer meals with these updated classics

Cornmeal-crusted okra
Even those who are not entirely sure how they feel about okra love this irresistible classic appetizer from the South.

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 lb. (450 g) fresh okra
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1-2 tsp. (5-10 mL) hot sauce
  • 1 cup (250 mL) cornmeal
  • 1⁄2 tsp. (2 mL) salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp. (2 mL) ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil as needed for deep-frying

1. Rinse okra well under running water. Trim off ends and discard. Using a small, sharp knife, slice width-wise into 1⁄2-inch (1-cm) pieces. Set aside.

2. Combine eggs and hot sauce in a mixing bowl. Add okra and toss to coat well. Pour cornmeal onto a shallow dish or plate; add salt and pepper. Using a fork, mix seasonings and cornmeal together well.

3. Dredge okra pieces a few at a time in the cornmeal mixture; coat well. Transfer pieces to a sheet of waxed paper as you work.

4. Heat the oil in your deep fryer to 375°F (190°C). If you don’t have a deep fryer, use a large, deep, heavy-based pot, placed over high heat. Make sure you have a proper thermometer to gauge the temperature (you may have to reduce heat to medium-high once the temperature is reached). Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set to one side.

5. When oil is hot enough, fry okra in batches (don’t crowd) for 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer pieces to baking sheet to drain. Serve immediately, with extra hot sauce if desired.


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