Coby Ming is the executive chef of Harvest Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky. Her fantastic recipe for quick-frying okra was recently featured on National Public Radio (NPR), and I couldn’t wait to try it. I am a HUGE fried okra fan, but I’m also extremely picky about how fry okra correctly. There’s a lot of bad battered and fried okra in the world of fast food, in my humble Southern opinion.
When I read that Coby’s recipe included a cast-iron skillet AND cornmeal, I confess I got excited. When I read that she adds a bit of bacon fat and smoked paprika, I stopped reading, got in the car, and drove to Brookshire’s for all of the needed ingredients. The sun was not going to set without this okra getting on my table and in my tummy.
It was a Friday night, which was the perfect time for me to try something new. And as I’ve told you before on this blog, I love to include “fun food” in my weekend menus every now and then. This recipe hit the spot with everyone around my table, including those who thought okra only to be a slimy vegetable to be avoided. (And while we’re talking, okra is a fruit, not a vegetable. Weird, but true.)
This recipe makes a delicious, crunchy fried okra. It never made it to our table that Friday night because we decided to enjoy it as an appetizer, kind of like a big bowl of popcorn but much, much more addictive. You can double Coby’s recipe for “seasoned cornmeal” that she uses to make the okra, depending on the amount of okra you want to eat. The seasoned cornmeal keeps in the fridge (tightly sealed) for weeks.
Coby Ming’s Fried Okra
Fresh whole okra (as much as you want to eat!)
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup corn flour (We used Bob’s Red Mill)
2 Tbs kosher salt
2 Tbs fresh cracked black pepper
2 tsp smoked paprika
Bacon fat (leftover from frying a skillet of bacon)
Cut okra into 3/4 inch pieces and dredge in a bowl of seasoned cornmeal and flour. To make your seasoned cornmeal, combine cornmeal, flour, corn flour, salt, pepper and smoked paprika.
Then add to a very hot cast iron skillet with a thin layer of bacon fat….stir until crispy on all sides (about 7-10 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Source: National Public Radio