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Fried okra September 2, 2012

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Vegetables.
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It is well known that Nero Wolfe is a vocal proponent of food developed in the United States – those specific culinary masterpieces which are America’s contribution to the world’s culinary heritage. While some of these are very well known, others are more unique to specific regions in the US. One specialty I’d never heard of was fried okra although apparently this is an important side dish in the South. My investigations showed there were a number of different ways to prepare the okra, including multiple frying methods. I decided to make smashed okra, as recently discussed on The Bitten Word, as this method seemed to highlight the actual okra flavour, rather than the coating.

I started by smashing the okra. Well, tapping the okra, really. I used my meat tenderising mallet, but tapped each one lightly – enough to pop it open slightly, but not enough to break the whole thing. I then set up a production line and dipped each okra into egg, then a flour/cornmeal mix. I put each one on a baking sheet to dry off slightly, until they were all ready to fry.

I used grapeseed oil to fry the okra – this is definitely my preferred option now. Because of its high burn point, it has the added bonus of not making the whole house smell fried after the process is over. I heated the oil, and then dropped the okra in one by one. I did it in batches so it didn’t get too overcrowded.

I drained them on some paper towel and tossed them in salt. We ate them outside as a delicious snack.

These were great! Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, with the delicious flavour of okra very apparent. I also added a little pile of smoked paprika to the side of the plate, which we found a very nice addition to dip the okra into.

I have a feeling that this is definitely a recipe Nero Wolfe would like. I can see him serving these to guests in his office – along with a drink, of course. While serving them, he would discuss the culinary contributions of the South, and invite his guests to give their opinions of the okra. Hopefully they would all find the okra as delicious as I did.

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