Fried okra to make your day

Here’s one way to use the okra we got in our shares this week, and some storage and prep tips.

Store this in your fridge, but use it early in the week because it tends to get either too slimy or too dry if you store it too long.  It’s at its best when it’s very fresh.  The only thing I ever do with okra is fry it.  You can also add it to vegetable soups easily enough, and there are a lot of Indian and Cajun dishes that use okra in really fun ways.  But you’ll have to find those recipes on your own, because if I have okra, I’m frying it.  

To shallow-fry okra, preheat a skillet to medium-high heat and pour in olive oil to a depth of about 1/8 – 1/4″ and get it hot (don’t let it reach its smoke point).  To keep the batter from sticking to the pan (if you’re not using nonstick), sprinkle salt on the pan before you add the oil and heat.  Meanwhile, rinse the okra in water and blot dry with a paper towel (you’ll want to dry it because okra can use the rinse water to magically create more slime if you let it sit too long).  Slice the okra into 1/2 – 3/4″ slices, discarding the stem ends.  Prepare two bowls, one with beer (I like to use either a lager or a pale to brown ale) and some cornstarch (you could also use egg, I think), and the other bowl with cornmeal, flour, salt, a bit of cayenne, and your favorite dried herbs (I like thyme for this).  When the skillet is hot, dip a handful of okra slices first into the beer bowl, then shake gently, then dip into the flour bowl to coat.  Repeat until your skillet is filled with a single layer of okra.  It will only take a couple minutes on each side, at most, to fry if the pan is hot enough.  You’ll want the batter to turn golden or brown but not to blacken.  Add more oil as necessary.  The pieces don’t always cook evenly, so watch closely and remove any finished pieces onto a plate covered in a paper towel to soak up excess oil.  Serve immediately.