When I saw fresh okra at the farmer’s market, I was so excited. Enough with the healthy for a minute, let’s fry something. Sounds pretty Southern right? Well, I would never consider myself Southern. I would never argue that I make the best fried chicken or that I know the secret to perfect brisket. In all honesty, I only spent four years in Texas, but you wouldn’t know it by how much I throw around the word “y’all.” While I was living in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I fell in love with the friendly people, the southern drawl, and the heaping plates of good ole Southern home cooking. My favorite place to get fried okra was Chicken Express. Fast food…really? I know. I’m guilty. But they had awesome fried chicken tenders, fried okra, gravy and this awesome spicy seasoning called Serendipity. While you may not have access to this specific seasoning salt that I used in this dish, you can get a similar effect by doctoring up some regular seasoning salt with cayenne or any Cajun spice mix you may have on hand.
Spicy Fried Green Tomatoes and Okra
inspired by my time in the South
1 pound okra, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium green tomatoes, cubed
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup cornmeal
1 Tbl Serendipity seasoning (or seasoning salt with cayenne)
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
oil, for frying
1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed dutch oven or cast iron pan to 350 degrees.
2. Toss the okra and green tomatoes together in the buttermilk.
3. Mix together the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, black pepper, and Serendipity seasoning in a large bowl.
4. Drain the excess buttermilk from the okra and tomatoes and, in batches, dredge them in the cornmeal-breadcrumb mixture until well coated.
5. Add okra and tomatoes into the hot oil in small batches and cook (flipping halfway if necessary) until golden brown. Be patient and let them reach that browning point or when you remove them, the cornmeal crust will slide right off. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately! Enjoy!
If you are only cooking for two (as I was) and don’t want to cook all of the okra and green tomatoes in one night, you can freeze them! After breading the okra and tomatoes, lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the freezer until they are partially frozen (this helps to ensure that they won’t stick together and lose their breading) and then put them in a ziploc bag. When you are ready to fry up another batch, you can add them straight from the freezer into the oil, just be careful of any residual ice crystals that could make the oil splatter.