Food Snob Chronicles (Recipe) — Buttermilk Fried Okra

Oh wow okra, yessiree,
Okra is Okay with me.

Oh okra’s favored far and wide,
Oh you can eat it boiled or fried,
Oh either slick or crisp inside,
Oh I once knew a man who died
Without okra.

— Roy Blount, Jr.

Another birthday has come and gone. So has my annual fried okra binge. In recent years I went old school with my pod feast. This year, I opted for the crunchy golden version. It’s quite a dandy.

Buttermilk Fried Okra

Buttermilk Fried Okra — the essence of The South

Buttermilk Fried Okra — just look at that crunch!

2 lbs – Fresh Okra
1½ cups – Buttermilk
1 cup – Cornmeal
1 cup – All-purpose flour

2 TB – Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil
3-4 slices – Bacon or 1/4 lb salt pork (optional)

Slice okra in half, lengthwise, or into half-inch chunks (pictured). Remove stem.

Place sliced okra into a large plastic bowl. Season generously with salt (I use Kosher salt). Add pepper to taste. Toss until all pieces are coated with spices. Allow to sit for a few minutes. Add buttermilk and toss to coat.

Meanwhile, add an inch of oil to the bottom of a cast-iron (or other) skillet. Add bacon/salt pork. Heat on medium setting (use slightly higher heat setting with skillets made of stainless steel and other materials). When the bacon/salt pork begins to sizzle nicely, the oil is hot enough. Remove the meat from the oil before frying the okra. Discard it; give it to the dogs; or eat it (like I do).

Combine cornmeal and flour in large bowl. In small batches, toss buttermilk-coated okra in breading mixture. When oil is just beginning to smoke, add okra, using your fingers to avoid surplus cornmeal from making its way to the skillet. Fry okra for about 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally for even browning. Drain on paper towel-lined plate. Season to taste.

Makes a nice side dish for a family of five, or an entire meal for me (even at age 44) — on my birthday.

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  1. I have never thought of buttermilk with the okra…you the Man

  2. Happy Birthday from one Gemini to another (mine’s on Sunday). The okra looks amazing. I could make all that disappear in a heartbeat.

    I read the post three times to make sure I didn’t miss anything, but I didn’t see what the bacon or salt pork was for. Grease to fry the okra in I’m guessing? Or just a side of bacon to munch on ’cause why not have bacon? Sometimes I eat a side of bacon with my bacon. ;)

    • adamjholland says:

      Hells bells. Thanks for the catch, Jason. The salt pork/bacon is warmed up with the oil to impart some flavor. Happy Birthday to you!

  3. Happy Birthday Adam! I love okra!

  4. Happy birthday, Adam… now passed the damned okra! ;)
    This looks phenomenal!

  5. Happy Birthday and I still wish I was 44! Eat anything you want. I must say i make a pretty good okra bisque, but I’ve never had it fried. And I love anything fried!

  6. OK—you have just reminded me that I have the entire gardens planted and no spots for okra. Doh!

  7. Oh Lawd a’Mercy! There ain’t nothin’ like a bowful of fried Okry to make me wish for my childhood. It’s almost Okra time up here and I can’t wait to have it boiled (yep, boiled) and fried during as many meals as possible!

  8. You know we’re not supposed to eat okra up here in Yankee land but fried like this, it might just fly. I’d certainly give it a try.

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