So to follow suit from my previous post about fried vegetables, I’d like to bring you one of my favorites Southern foods of all time. Forget mac & cheese, forget baked beans, forget cornbread – this is the side that always, always needs to be on the menu of any meat & three style restaurant.
Let me preface by saying two things. ONE: I’m not normally a big fan of fried food, which I’m sure you don’t believe considering my last post and now this one. But I really do hardly EVER fry things. Yes, I know I should stay away from it “for my health”, but quite honestly, I usually stay away from it for no other reason than the fact that it makes me feel like crap after I eat it! TWO: Normally, taking any of the beautiful fresh produce available here in the summer time, dunking it in batter and throwing it in oil would just be a SIN to me….normally. But okra is kind of a rare bird. I find a lot of people are afraid of it because it tends to release a “slime” when you cook it. I actually had never even noticed this until a few years ago when someone brought it to my attention and I later realized that’s because I had only ever eaten it fried or pickled. Well, that had to be changed. So I made stewed okra and tomatoes, and sure enough. SLIMY! Ha. Who knew…
So on that note, if you think you’re not a fan of Okra, please give this recipe a try. It really is a most delicious vegetable! You’re missing out!
This recipe is roughly put together according to my Mom’s fried okra. In my opinion, she’s the QUEEN of fried okra. She gets this light crusty goodness on it with just the right amount of crunch, while still managing to show off it’s beautiful green color (instead of the typical lovely shade of TAN that most fried food acquires). It’s awesome, y’all. A true Southern staple and it goes well with just about anything!
In short, this is super easy to make. There’s no real need for a recipe, but I’ll post one below just to appease everyone who probably skips through all my rambling and goes straight to the bottom anyway.
She makes things super easy by using a “one bowl” kind of method. While your canola oil heats up in your pan – cut up your okra and Vidalia onions & toss them in a large bowl with an egg (maybe two depending on how much you have). Continue tossing while you add some flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, until you have a nice coating on your veggies. Pour that mixture gently into your hot oil and toss with some tongs until it browns. DONE! How easy was that?!
Some of the coating will fall off in this process, but that’s kind of the beauty of this method. You end up with lots of crunchy little bits that help add to the flavor! So if it looks like a mess at the end….you did something right. :)
PAN FRIED OKRA ‘n ONIONS – A Milk Truck Mom original!
2 cups of okra, cut into 1/2 in pieces (discard tops)
1/2 of a medium Vidalia onion, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup canola oil
salt & pepper
1) Pour canola oil into pan. Turn on medium-high heat.
2) In a large bowl, combine your cut up okra and onions. Crack your eggs on top and combine with your hands until coated. Sprinkle flour over okra in about 1/4 cup increments, tossing until all okra and onions are well coated. Add a few pinches of salt and a few cracks of black pepper.
3) Pour this mixture into a large pan. Make sure it’s spread out enough that most of it is touching the pan (a little overlap is fine). If your pan isn’t large enough, just do it in two batches.
4) I let it sit for a minute or so then toss it a little with my tongs to make sure it all gets browned. Meanwhile, place several paper towels on a large plate. Once you get a good color, use a slotted spoon to spoon it out of your pan and place it on the paper towels to drain. Add a little more salt and pepper, if necessary, and serve immediately!
NOTE: Mom says that she normally just uses salt and pepper as her only seasoning, but that it really just “depends on how she’s feeling”. We discussed the possibility of adding cayenne pepper or maybe even just tossing it in some Old Bay. Whatever you like!