Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fried Okra

Fried???? It doesn't seem like anything fried can be healthy anymore. The thought of fried foods brings up the idea of foods deep fat fried, dripping with artery clogging trans fats. Well, think again. It's how you fry, how often you fry, and how much fried food you eat for each serving.

I have a hard time giving up my fried foods. Ever since I first found french fries at a fast food restaurant with my friends, I've ordered them. I've since discovered baked "french fried" potatoes, and I think they're every bit as good. However, okra is a different story. It's roots are with my Southern aunt, who cooked up their crunch with sticks and sticks of butter. I haven't found a way to bake fried okra and come up with the delightful crunchy tidbits I so enjoy. What I have found is a way to decrease the oils used to cook them ... and to use oils that are healthier, so that the final product is still tasty, but doesn't scream unhealthy. Aah, decadence in eating without guilt. It's one of the things that makes life so good.


2 cups sliced, fresh okra
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp butter
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt


Slice fresh okra crosswise so that it is about 3/8" thick. Place okra into a bag with the cornmeal and shake until well coated with cornmeal. Heat butter and olive oil in a non-stick skillet until hot, but not smoking. Add okra, taking care not to add the extra cornmeal that didn't stick to the okra pieces. Cook the okra, turning occasionally to prevent scorching. Salt just before serving.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Cutting okra thinly allows it to cook faster, resulting in less oil needed for cooking. Also, substituting some of the butter with olive oil adds a healthier fat. I've left in a little amount of butter for taste. Finally, using non-stick cookware decreases the overall amount of oil needed. This principle can be applied to many fried foods.

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