Okra, a staple of the American South, has a growing season that lasts from May to October, making it a commonly frozen vegetable. The typical okra preparation involves a simple breading procedure followed by two to three minutes of frying. The guidelines that apply to breading okra for freezing mirror those used when frying it – a coating of buttermilk egg wash is applied then followed by dredging in seasoned flour.
Rinse 1 lb. of okra, allow it to dry and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
Beat two large eggs in a mixing bowl, add 1/4 cup whole buttermilk and incorporate thoroughly. Add the okra to the eggs and buttermilk, and allow it to stand for 10 minutes.
Combine 1 cup cornmeal, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Mix well using a whisk.
Drain the okra with a slotted spoon and add it to the seasoned flour. Dredge the okra in the flour and place it on a sheet pan in a single layer. Work in batches, one spoonful at a time, before adding more wet okra to the flour.
Add the okra to hot oil immediately after breading if frying.
Place the sheet pan in the freezer and allow it to chill for four hours or until it is dry to the touch and solid.
Remove the okra and place it in freezer bags. Designate each bag with the date of freezing. Use within six months for ideal results.
- "The Professional Chef 8th Edition"; The Culinary Institute of America; 2006
- Cook's Recipes: Southern Fried Okra
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.