We use okra several ways in our cooking in the South, probably because the hotter the summer the better it grows. We put it in soups and stews and gumbos to thicken them. We cook it with tomatoes and onions and bacon and such. You can also pickle okra whole and it's tasty. Some people actually just boil and season it and eat it just like that. I am not one of those people. It can be a little slimy, unless you cook it certain ways. I think okra needs a little something to make it really good.
One of my favorite ways to eat okra is to batter it and fry it. I do like to deep fry mine, because it cooks so much more quickly and evenly and it's not as greasy. It's also not nearly as messy to do. If you prefer pan frying, you can do that also, but just try the deep fry method and I think you will like the results. Here is what you need for this fried okra:
1 lb. of fresh okra, washed and sliced across in about 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp. hot sauce (optional)
2 cups self rising flour
2 cups corn meal
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning (optional)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
oil for deep frying
Mix the hot sauce in with the buttermilk if you are using it. This cooks out and really isn't all that spicy, but gives the okra a good flavor. Place the okra slices in a bowl and cover with the buttermilk, coating each piece.
In a gallon size Ziploc bag, mix the flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning. If you don't like a little zip to your okra, you can leave the Cajun seasoning out. I think it adds some extra flavor to it. If you don't use the Cajun seasoning, you might need to sprinkle the cooked okra with a big more salt as soon as you take it out of the oil.
Dip the okra out of the buttermilk with a slotted spoon into the flour/cornmeal mixture in the Ziploc bag. Close the bag and shake until all of the pieces are well coated. You will need to do two or three batches. Don't put too many at one time in the bag.
Heat the oil in a deep fryer to about 375 degrees. I usually just use my Fry Daddy for this so it doesn't have a temperature control, but you can drop one piece and tell when the oil is ready. It should bubble and roll when dropped. Fry in batches and don't over crowd. Roll the pieces over once or twice during cooking. Don't move them around too much or you will knock your batter off.
When they are nice and brown, after about 4-5 minutes or so, remove with slotted spoon to a paper towel lined bowl or dish to drain. Serve immediately!