The essential Southern ingredient okra proves to be versatile
Even in the late summer, when so many marquee fruits and vegetables have been exhausted, the Southern kitchen garden is not without rewards. Okra thrives in our heat and laps up the Texas sunshine.
A signature Southern ingredient, okra can be fried, pickled, roasted, grilled or added to gumbo. But perhaps my favorite way to enjoy this veggie is cooking up a batch of savory garden fritters. This easy recipe brings together classic summer flavors for a light lunch or evening appetizer.
Summer Garden Fritters
1 cup okra, caps and tips removed, mid-sections minced
1⁄2 cup fresh corn kernels
1⁄3 cup squash, grated
1 small jalapeño, minced (seeded, if desired)
3 tablespoons scallions, minced
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornmeal
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1⁄2 teaspoon hot sauce
1⁄3 cup vegetable oil
Additional salt to season
Cherry tomatoes, blistered
In a medium bowl, stir together the okra, corn, squash, jalapeño, scallion and salt. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the cornmeal and flour. In a small cup, whisk together the buttermilk, egg and hot sauce. Combine wet and dry ingredients, whisking to mix thoroughly. Combine mixture with vegetables and let sit at least 10 minutes.
Add oil to a 10-inch skillet and heat over medium heat. Spoon batter in heaping tablespoons for small fritters — two tablespoons for larger fritters — into the hot oil. Press down on each dollop to flatten the batter slightly. Continue carefully dropping more batter into the hot oil, making sure the fritters don’t touch.
Cook the fritters in batches over medium heat until each side is a dark golden color. Transfer to paper-towel-lined plate. Season with salt while hot. Serve warm with blistered tomatoes.