Monday, July 4, 2011

Onion Rings and Fried Okra

Happy 4th of July! In honor of this holiday, I thought I'd post a recipe to go along with some of the grilled fare you may be enjoying today. I try to cook relatively healthy most of the time but this is an exception - it's a holiday after all. I picked up some fresh 1015 onions at the farmers market on Saturday morning and the okra in the grocery store was too perfect to pass up. I usually do fried okra with frozen okra so you could use that too. Just be sure to thaw it out completely before you soak in the buttermilk. This recipe is one of my own and you could easily adapt and just make the onion rings or the okra. We had an abundance of leftovers.

Time: 30 minutes plus 1 hour marinating
Serves: 4 (or 2 with tons of leftovers)

  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 3/4 lb of fresh okra
  • 1 cup of All Purpose flour
  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne
  • 1 small container of buttermilk (I used the lowfat kind)
  • few dashes of your favorite hot sauce
  • 1 cup or so of canola oil
  1. Peel your onion and slice into 1/2 inch slices.
  2. Separate slices into rings and add to a bowl with 1/2 your container of buttermilk, a few dashes of hot sauce and about 1 tsp each of salt and pepper. Refrigerate for an hour or so to marinate.
  3. Chop your okra into 1/2 thick pieces, removing and discarding the tops.
  4. Add to a separate bowl with the rest of your buttermilk, a few dashes of hot sauce and about 1 tsp each of salt and pepper. Refrigerate for an hour or so to marinate.
  5. Take 2 ziploc bags and to each one, add 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne and 1 tsp pepper. Shake the bags thoroughly to mix. You'll coat the onions separately from the okra, hence the 2 bags.
  6. After the okra and onions have marinated, use your hands to transfer them to the ziploc bags you prepared, letting the excess buttermilk drip off before you add them. Shake the bags again to thoroughly to coat the veggies.
  1. Preheat your oven to 200. This is to keep the veggies warm until you're ready to serve.
  2. In a large skillet, add enough oil to make a 3/4 inch layer and set over medium-high heat for 10 minutes or so.
  3. While the oil is heating up, line 2 baking sheets with foil and cover one of them with paper towels.
  4. Test the oil to see if it's ready by adding a bit of the coating mixture from one of your bags. If it sizzles, it's ready to go. If it goes really wild and burns, you probably need to back off the heat a bit. You can also use the end of the handle of a wooden spoon to test it. If bubbles form immediately around the handle, your oil is ready.
  5. Once your oil is ready, use your hands to add a few of your veggies to the hot oil. I did the onions in 2 batches and the okra in 3 if I remember correctly. Just make sure the veggies are in one layer and have a bit of space to move around. Also, make sure to separate the veggies from one another. This is especially important for the okra as they are slimier and tend to stick together.
  6. Fry the veggies in the hot oil for 3-4 minutes until they're browned and crisp. Use a slotted spoon or a spider to move your veggies to your baking sheet coated in paper towels. Once the veggies have drained on the towels for a couple of minutes, transfer them to the foil-lined baking sheet and stick in the oven to keep warm.
  7. Repeat with the rest of the veggies and keep in the warm oven until ready to serve.

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