Okra salad has been around forever. Of course, I just learned of it a few weeks ago. First, after talking with one of my favorite local farmers. Then a couple of days later, my good neighbor started telling me about her craving for okra salad. They both described it the same way.
"Cut up a fresh tomato, a small onion, a little vinegar, salt & pepper, then stick it in the icebox. Fry up some okra then toss the cold tomato fixins with the hot okra and eat up!" Then they added, "There's nothing like it."
So I combined two very good recipes and came up with my own version of this country victual.
HERE'S ALL IT TAKES
plenty enough to feed four folks
- 1 very large tomato, washed and roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup yellow or purple onion, finely chopped
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- salt and fresh ground pepper
Toss the chopped tomatoes and onion in a medium bowl. Add equal parts of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, enough coat the mix very well. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to marry for 10 minutes or so, in the icebox.
- 4 cups fresh okra, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch rounds, stem end discarded
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 2 to 3 tablespoons milk or water
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh pepper
Wash and cut up okra put in a large mixing bowl.
Beat egg with 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk or water together in small bowl. Pour over the cut okra and toss until the okra is well coated.
In another large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, salt and pepper. Add in the wet okra (try not to add in the extra egg/milk coating), and toss until the okra well coated with the dry mix. Set aside.
Fill a small saucepot 2/3 full of oil. Do not exceed 2/3 or oil will bubble over during frying. Heat oil over medium high heat. Using a fry/candy thermometer, heat oil to 385ºF.
Use a large slotted spoon to safely add coated okra down into the hot oil. The okra will sink to the bottom at first, then rise to the top when ready to take out. Fry up from 1 to 2-minutes, until light to golden brown. Scoop out okra with a slotted spoon, drain into a strainer that is set inside a bowl. Or drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. Remove extra bits from the oil between batch cooking to keep the oil from smoking.
When it comes time to eat, transfer the okra to a large bowl. Use a slotted spoon to add the cold tomato salad to the hot okra, toss and serve immediately.