Oven Fried What?

It’s September and our garden is winding down…a little.  Right now, we have jalapenos, a little lettuce and okra still producing.  Now, I love okra.  There are really only two ways I know to prepare it.  Pickled and fried.  I remember chowing down on my great-grandma’s pickled okra.  It was sooooo good.  I was probably the only 2nd grader who packed pickled okra in her lunch.

I do love good fried okra.  My favorite is the fried okra at Cracker Barrel.  I don’t know what they do to it, but I love it!  I have been amazed at the amount of people here in Virginia who have never had fried okra.  Hey!  I thought it was a southern speciality and, as I’m repeatedly reminded, Virginia is south of the Mason/Dixon line!  The one thing that keeps me from eating fried okra everyday is the fact that it is…well…fried.  At my Weight Watchers meetings, I preach against the evils of fried foods.  So, when I found this recipe on Pinterest, I was really interested.  

I had my doubts.  The recipe boasted crisp, crunchy fried okra, without having it swimming in grease.  But, I thought, “Why not?”  So, I attempted it for our dinner tonight.

Right off the bat, I had a problem.  The recipe called for buttermilk.  I have probably bought buttermilk a total of 3 times in my life, so of course, I had none on hand.  So, I did what anyone would do, I googled “what if I don’t have buttermilk?”  Seriously.  You would not believe the number of results I got.  I ended up using regular milk & mixed a couple of teaspoons of vinegar in with the milk.  I guess it worked…I couldn’t taste any vinegar in the okra.

I served it to the family.  When my husband heard we were trying oven fried okra, he was less than thrilled.  He’s not a huge fan of regular fried okra, so any deviation from the recipe didn’t sound good to him.  However, when he tasted it, he was hooked!!  As he was eating his second helping, he kept saying, “This is really good!”  I said, “I thought you didn’t like fried okra.”  His response?  “I don’t, but I like this!”

Somehow, I managed to keep fried okra from my son.  8 years old and he had never tried fried okra.  Epic fail as a mom.  He loved it!!  He also came back for seconds, but alas, there was none!

I followed the recipe to a tee (except for not having buttermilk).  What did I like best about this recipe?  What didn’t I like?  It was fairly quick, easy and somewhat healthy.  Instead of swimming in oil, I sprayed olive oil (much healthier than vegetable oil) on a pan covered in aluminum foil.  When I put the okra on a plate covered with a paper towel, there was very little oil on the paper towel and none on the plate underneath!!

This will definitely be a dish I will make again and again.  The blogger said the leftover okra was still crispy, right out of the fridge.  I guess I’ll just have to take her word for it.  There was none leftover at my house!!

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