Periodically, I jump back to old recipes and update them with new photos and sometimes add a few extra tips for perfecting the dish. This post brought back such sweet memories of taking Jack to his first day at a new preschool. It’s hard to believe he’s about to start the 6th grade now! Get ready for a blast from the past. ~queue time warp sound effect~
Those of you who have been following Southern Bite for a little while know what a big ol’ softie I am – especially when it comes to my little boy. Well, last week he started a new preschool and to say the least, it was traumatic. But things are getting better and today was the first day that they got to go swimming at the new place.
We decked him out in his Elmo swimming trunks and swim shirt this morning (they go swimming first thing in the morning) and we be-bopped our way to school. As we’re walking in, there wasn’t the usual “Daddy, I want to hold you.” He just walked right in without any thought, walked into his classroom, turned to me and said, “Bye, Dad!” Y’all I just about lost it. Bye, Dad!???!?!?! I quickly turned and walked out.
Part of me wanted to snatch that little thing up and firmly instruct him that my name was not “Dad” but “Daddy.” I’m pretty sure I’m not ready for this.
This weekend he was taking his first trip down a slip n’ slide and eating his first homemade grape popsicle, next thing he’ll be wanting to borrow the car. I keep telling myself that he’s only two, but he seems to be growing up so fast. Everyday brings a new word, a new sentence, a new question. Some afternoons he even looks different from when I dropped him off that morning. The way time is flying, I’m afraid I’ll blink and he’ll be graduating from high school.
I’ll make it. Y’all will just have to have patience with me while I whine. Just get comfortable, I’m sure there’s more whining to come.
One is the method where each piece of okra is individually coated in a seasoned flour/cornmeal mixture and deep fried to golden perfection. This is the version you see most often in restaurants. The other method is the skillet method where the okra is stir fried and you end up with more of a hash-like texture. This is probably the version you remember from your mom or grandma’s kitchen. And it’s the one we’re making today.
A few things to keep in mind…
When choosing fresh okra, opt for smaller pods that are bright green without tons of dark spots. The smaller pods are more tender. The bigger they get, the more tough and fibrous they become. Dark spots appear on okra that’s older, so avoid that if you can.
Yes, you can use frozen, thawed cut okra for this as well. It’s not my favorite, but it works just fine during the winter months when you can’t get fresh.
Cast iron holds heat well and it can be easy to burn this okra so be sure to adjust the heat as necessary.
There’s no real need to do this, but I often mash mine up a bit as it finishes cooking to produce more of a hash-like texture. It’s just a matter of personal preference.
Old School Skillet Fried Okra
- 1 lb okra (about 4 cups, cut)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 cup corn meal
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- Wash and cut okra in about half inch pieces, discarding the tip and stem ends. Then rinse cut okra under cool water.
- In a large bowl, add salt, pepper, and corn meal to damp okra. Toss lightly to coat.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and add vegetable oil.
- Once oil is heated, carefully add okra including meal remaining in the bottom of the bowl. Stir frequently until the okra is browned and cooked through (about 20 minutes) - being cautious not to burn it. I also like to mash mine up a bit to get that hash-like consistency.