Summer Okra: Buttermilk Fried and Sauterne Boiled

Okra been good to me

One vegetable that has not melted in our summer’s sultry heat is okra. It thrives, or seems to like the horrid heat of late July down here in the south.

Okra stalks seem to stand proud with the tender pods boldly pointing upwards. The younger ones, about one to two inches in length, are just fine for slicing thin and eating in fresh salads or sautéing fast and adding to fresh green beans, even adding to vegetable tacos. Most pods are best when harvested immaturely, about 3 to 4 inches in length.

Okra has roots in southern cookery since the early 18th century when the slave trade introduce it to this soil and it has held strong in making for better conversation ‘round many tables. Just think of how many pots of gumbo that’s been made with it and how many smacking lips have enjoyed crispy fried okra.

The latter recipe is a little different, a Creole way and speaking of which, concerning okra there's an old Creole saying ‘never cook okra in a black pot (cast iron) lessens you want black okra”. Many older cookbooks tell you to use porcelain or agateware, the old blue and white pots when boiling, simmering or stewing, but today we have enameled ware or stainless steel.

Another belief and one I go by is leaving a small portion of the stem on (mainly the cap) especially when stewing or boiling okra. This lessens the pods from becoming slimy. Of course, cooking for a long time, as in gumbo, the sliminess is desired as a thickening and the breakdown of the pod is preferred. The best way to avoid sliminess is to cook okra fast or with something acidic like tomatoes, vinegar or with a little citrus juice.

Now here are today’s two recipes. Enjoy!

Buttermilk Fried Okra

1 pound fresh okra, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 1/2 cups self-rising white cornmeal mix
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Vegetable oil
    In a bowl, cover the okra with buttermilk and soak for 30 minutes. Drain in a colander.
    Stir together cornmeal mix and next 3 listings in a separate large bowl.
    Pour oil to depth of 1 inch into a large, deep heavy skillet or Dutch oven; heat to 375 degrees F.
    Dredge okra in cornmeal mixture in batches, and place in a wire-mesh strainer. Shake off excess. Fry okra, in batches, 4 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels.
    Note: Cornmeal mix is a ready mix consisting of cornmeal, flour and leavening. Look for it in your bakery goods area.

    Sauterne Boiled Okra

    2 pounds fresh young okra
    Butter or olive oil
    1 cup water
    2 teaspoon Tabasco or red pepper hot sauce
    2 cups Sauterne wine
    2 teaspoons salt
      Wash the okra well. Toss the okra with melted butter or use olive oil if you prefer in a large pot coating well. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook slowly until okra is tender.



      1. I will take just a couple servings of each, just to help you out with the taste testing. I warn you though, my scenes are a bit slow so I may just have to clear you out:) And I love the background and tips on okra recuperation...Wonderful!

      2. Hi Drick, I have never seen self rising cornmeal mix!!!??? But, that fried okra looks incredible!

      3. A perfect way to start looking at posts for the day you had me at hot sauce! I am so there and starving sounds like I need to make this asap! yum!

      4. as usual lots of great information!! I have had fried okra, and love it, and use it in soups...but I have never had it stewed.......sounds like it could be really good!!
        thanks for sharing!

      5. Oh man, that takes me back to my Tennessee roots. My grandmother made the BEST buttermilk battered fried okra in the entire world...she did use a big cast iron skillet though! I've never been a fan of boiled okra but I can surely appreciate a cornmeal crusted fried okra. Thanks for the always. ]
        BTW...please stop by my post "Award"...I have one for you :)

      6. Drick this looks great. I've been looking for okra and there doesn't seem to be any around. I love okra any old way and this looks like a real winner.

      7. There's just nothing quite like fried okra!

      8. I just had some this weekend! I didn't know that Okra has roots in southern cooking. I will try adding the cap on next time I stir fry.

      9. I'm really happy to see that there is butter milk in this post. My favorite way to eat okra is dry fried with Indian spices. I like black mustard seeds, cumin, coriander and turmeric.

      10. Oh Lord...fried okra!!! Makes me homesick for Tennesse and my granny's kitchen. Uhm...she did use an big cast iron skillet though. Three Rivers self rising corn meal mix and buttermilk could make DIRT taste good though!
        Please stop by my blog post "Award" I have one for you :)

      11. Thanks for all the great tips, Drick! Love fried okra. :)

      12. You’ll never believe it, but I had not tasted okra until I moved to the south! Really. It is now one of my favorite veggies and I am loving your use of buttermilk to fry it up.

      13. I am almost ashamed to admit that I have only ever had okra in a gumbo. I definitely need to broaden my horizons. That fried okra is calling to me!

      14. Looks divine! I have honestly NEVER thought of frying with buttermilk.

        Hm... perhaps that may make in appearance in my dinner tonight!

      15. I have never tried frying okra. This sounds exciting to try out. Would love to try. I like okra very much. Thanks very much for sharing.

      16. I have never tried okra at all...but I always say...anything Fried is damn good.

      17. I once made okra in my cast iron and it did come out a bit darker, not that it stopped me from eating the WHOLE bathc, i love okra..funny here I cannot find it anywhere..I'll have to stock up when I visit home.


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