Confession: I was a picky eater when I was a child. With vegetables, I pretty much stuck to broccoli, green beans, peas, and corn.
However, I was a FREAK for fried okra. To me, this seems a little bizarre, since okra is a little bit strange/scary for a lot of people, and the fact that the pods are filled with seeds would be something that SHOULD have turned me off from them. But no…if I could get my hands on some fried okra, I was all…over…it.
Nowadays, I try to steer clear of fried foods as much as possible. But, when I saw a recipe in Cooking Light for oven fried okra, I was intrigued! Excited, I drove to the grocery store and purchased some okra to make this tasty treat. I’ll be honest: batch #1 following Cooking Light’s recipe was not successful. But, it had promise, so I persevered. I changed the quantities of ingredients, added panko, and then whipped up batch #2 the other night, and we found the new recipe was a great success! The okra turned out crunchy, golden, and delicious!
Oven Fried Okra
***Adapted from Cooking Light***
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup fat free buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1lb fresh okra pods, trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch slices
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Combine cornmeal, panko bread crumbs, 1/2 tsp salt, black pepper, and red pepper in a shallow dish; set aside.
3. Combine buttermilk and egg in a large bowl; stir with a whisk
4. Add okra to buttermilk mixture; toss to coat. Let stand 3 minutes.
5. Dredge okra in cornmeal/crumb mixture.
6. Place okra in a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle remaining salt over the okra.
7. Bake for 30-35 mintues, stirring once, until okra is golden brown and crispy.
Side note: when you are dredging the okra in the cornmeal mixture, don’t panic if the pieces don’t get completely covered in crumbs. If part of the pod is breaded, it will crisp up. As much as I’d like to be perfect, I couldn’t seem to coat every single okra slice (as you can see in the photo above). But guess what: they still taste awesome!