Most of us up here in Yankeeland have very few opportunities to eat fresh okra since this vegetable prefers temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It has begun creeping into farm stands just south of me in the Connecticut Valley in the last couple of years. The Valley is sunny and warm (well, warm for New England!).
I purchase okra at the Bars Farmstand in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Although it’s a bit of a drive for me, I love the Bars Farm. It has the most extensive variety of sweet and hot peppers anywhere around. And like many other local farms it practices integrated pest management; its owners are responsible stewards of their land.
Many people object to the “slime” component of okra. I have found that when it is fried it doesn’t emit much slime. My friend Michael Collins grills it, and I hope to try that method soon. Meanwhile, here I share the recipe for the okra fritters (a.k.a. kritters) I have made twice now.
The size of the kritter depends on your taste. The kritters are crunchier (and of course more fattening) if you cut the okra into tiny pieces—say, 1/3 inch long. When I made them earlier this week, I just cut each piece of okra in half after snipping off the ends. This method results in a little more okra flavor.
Either way you make them, you will doubtless convert non-okra lovers with these treats.
10 pieces of okra, with the ends trimmed off, sliced either in half or into several smaller pieces
enough buttermilk to cover the okra
1/2 cup cornmeal (this is approximate; just dump some cornmeal into a bowl)
2 tablespoons flour (ditto)
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
canola oil as needed for frying
salt (if needed)
Wash and dry the okra. Place it in a bowl, and cover it with buttermilk.
In a flat bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, and Creole seasoning. Dip each damp piece of okra in this mixture.
Cover the bottom of a heavy skillet with oil. Heat the skillet until the oil is quite hot. Quickly fry the okra pieces in the oil, turning once.
Remove the okra pieces to a paper-towel-covered plate. Taste one. (Try to stick to ONLY one!) If the kritters need salt, sprinkle a little on top.
Serves 2 copiously as an appetizer or side dish.