Earlier in the week we got to talking about my little boy and his “visitor” and several of you mentioned that it might be an imaginary friend. All this talk got me to thinking and I’ve decided to share something with y’all – something only a rare few folks know about me. And here I am about to confess my secret to you and the rest of the world. When I was a kid… I had an imaginary friend. But that’s not all. No. I’ve always been told that highly creative folks often had imaginary friends as children. So I’m okay with having had one. What I rarely share is his name. Of course I can’t remember why he was named this and none of my family seems to know why. But his name was ~swallows a big gulp of pride~ Fruito. I know, I know… WHAT A NAME!!?? And like many kids with imaginary friends, I demanded that Fruito have a place at the dinner table and I’m sure there were lots of other ways that I made an effort to make Fruito real. But the strange thing about my imaginary friend is that he was always dying these tragic deaths and then showing back up the next day. Who knows why kids do the things they do, but Fruito just kept on dying. Car crashes, airplane crashes, boats sinking - You name it, Fruito died that way. Weird, huh? The one day, Fruito died and never came back. I’ve got some more Fruito stories for you, but I’m going to have to call it a day with this sharing my inner soul thing. Uh… I’ve told too much. I’m going to go drink some more coffee to calm my raw exposed nerves…
It doesn’t get much more Southern than fried okra. Last week I got a hankerin’ for some of the stuff, made some, and sat and ate it until I was about three pieces short of sick. It’s not exactly fresh okra season right now, so I bought a bag of frozen cut okra and used that. It wasn’t quite the same as fresh, but it was still excellent.
This particular recipe makes some of the best fried okra I’ve ever had. Using a box of Zatarain’s Seasoned Fish-Fri Southern Style is the trick. They do all the hard work for you and have all the spices and flavor right in the mix.
In the South there are basically two ways to do fried okra. And honestly, I love them both – don’t really have a favorite. This particular method is what I call the “piece” method using a deep fryer. This is where you coat individual pieces of okra in batter and deep fry them. The other method I call the “hash” method, which is where you combine the batter and okra together and cook it stove top in a cast iron skillet. That results in a more hash-like finished product. You’ll see the other method here on Southern Bite later this Spring.
- 4 cups of cut okra
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 (12 oz) box of Zatarain’s Seasoned Fish-Fri Southern Style
1. Heat the oil in a deep fryer to around 360 degrees F.
2. Soak okra in buttermilk and then dredge in Fish-Fri to coat well. Shake off excess coating.
3. Carefully add okra to the hot oil and cook until golden brown. (It will be necessary to fry the okra in batches.)
4. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels, and then serve immediately.