Missing South Carolina Fried Okra

I love visiting Charleston, SC (and my friends in Goose Creek).  The wonderful company, great weather and beautiful ocean views are hard to beat.  And the food! Low country comfort food, fresh seafood and some mighty fine “Q” are abundant.  When I’m really missing it all I whip up a batch of fried okra, close my eyes and imagine I’m back for just a moment.

Ingredients:

  • About a dozen fresh whole Okra pods.  You can find these at many grocery stores in the produce section (at least in warm months).  If you can’t find fresh, you can use thawed frozen sliced okra.
  • 1-2 Cups buttermilk
  • 2 Cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon ground red pepper (optional)
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Wash and dry the okra pods. Slice the pods about 1/4 inch thick so you get little “coins” of okra.  Place your sliced okra in a shallow bowl, just big enough to hold it but with none heaping above the top of the bowl.
  2. Pour buttermilk into the bowl until the okra is just covered.  Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
  3. Heat up oil in a large pan or deep fryer to 400 degrees.
  4. While the oil is heating, put the flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well.
  5. Working in batches of about a handful at a time, remove okra from buttermilk and allow excess to drip off.  Put the okra in the bowl with the flour mixture and toss gently to completely coat the slices.
  6. Carefully place in hot oil.  TIP: Don’t over crowd when frying. One to two handfuls is about as much as a medium pan or single fryer should hold.
  7. Fry until golden brown, about 4-6 minutes. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to cool. Repeat until all of the okra is fried.

Now sit back and enjoy some southern comfort food!

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