Okra is a food that divides people. This recipe is for those who already know they love it fried but just can’t make themselves take a perfectly healthy low-calorie veggie and turn it into an oil and carb calorie nightmare.
Okra is a quirky, interesting veggie
I’m a big fan of okra. I love its anatomy. Sturdy outer exoskeleton. Symmetrical segments lined with happy little balls inside. I like both the pointy end and the cute lid on the other end. The slimy ground substance that turns so many people off seems the stuff of imagination to me. If Dr. Seuss had invented a veggie, it would be okra.
Like most recipes, this is a blend of things you find online. Buttermilk plays a starring role simply because I love buttermilk and all things ranch flavored. (You can make buttermilk simply by adding a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of regular milk.) I threw a tablespoon of vinegar into this recipe on the theory that it would augment the buttermilk-ness. The preheating of the cookie sheets before you layer the okra is a great idea and credit goes to Steel House Kitchen for that. The hot oil will help it crisp up.
Of course, I expect you to play around with the spices. If you like it traditionally fried, keep to just salt and pepper. If you like spicy, use a full tsp of the chili garlic sauce.
I used frozen okra because it’s simple and always available. Frozen okra often gets relegated to soups and stews because it’s mushy and overly slimy if you just nuke it. But it turns out crunchy and de-slimed after spending 20 minutes in the oven.
Oven Fried Okra
For The Horseradish Sauce
- 1/2 cup plain full fat Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp horseradish
- 1 T finely chopped chives and a few for garnish
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- couple grinds of a peppermill
- pinch or two of salt
For The Marinade/Okra
- 1 10 oz Bag Frozen Okra or equal amount fresh, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 T apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp chili garlic paste entirely optional
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
For The Breading
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- T Oil or cooking spray
- 10 - 15 grinds of a pepper mill
Thaw a 10 oz bag of frozen okra or chop up an equal amount of fresh okra.
For the sauce, mix everything together and let it sit about an hour for the flavors to meld.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, put it in your oven, and set your oven to 400 to preheat.
Combine buttermilk, vinegar, and spices in a bowl.
Add the okra and marinate for 15 - 30 minutes and prepare the cornmeal/breadcrumb coating during this time. Combine the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, a little salt and a little pepper.
Take the hot cookie sheet out of the oven and smear it with some kind of oil/grease or spray with Pam.
Put the cookie sheet back in the oven so it is heating again while you cover the okra with the cornmeal/breadcrumb mixture.
Pour 1/2 the cornmeal/breadcrumb mixture on a plate, put the marinated okra on the crumbs and mix it up a little, then cover the okra with the rest of the cornmeal/breadcrumb mixture.
Transfer the breaded okra to the hot cookie sheet and carefully separate them so you aren't cooking clumps of okra. Remember: the cookie sheet is hot.
Cook at 400 for 10 minutes and flip them over with a spatula, rotate your cookie sheet 180 degrees and return to oven for another 7 minutes then set your oven on 500/broil for a few minutes and brown the top layer of the okra.
If you are using fresh okra cut them into about 1-inch lengths. They shrink up when cooked and if they are cut too small, it is hard to dip them in the horseradish sauce. If you do cut them small, just mix the sauce with the okra - think gravy - and eat with a fork.