Far and away one of the most viewed post on this site is the recipe for oven fried chicken. It seems to make the rounds from time to time on Pinterest, which surprises me because the pictures really aren’t good at all (early days of this site right there). I also feel bad about the fact that this post is so popular sometimes because it feels a little bit misleading. While it is “oven fried chicken” it is not “100% baked in the oven” because you do fry it the regular way first and then finish it in the oven. This is, of course, still healthier than completely frying the chicken in the oven because it doesn’t have as much time to soak up oil. But to be honest, sometimes I feel a little guilty about this unintentional deception.
This post, this oven fried oka, IS completely 100% done in the oven though, which is so exciting to me. Fried okra is one of my favorite vegetables and always has been ever since I had my first bite of it at Picadilly with my grandmother when I was still small enough to stand up in the restaurant booth. We went to a little restaurant here in Huntsville last week for lunch, one of those classic hole-in-the-wall down-home Southern cooking places, and my order was completely predictable: fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and fried okra. (Because yes, in the South macaroni and cheese and fried okra are on the vegetable list.)
But frying okra can be so much trouble. It’s delicious, but you have to stand over it as it fries and do it in batches and if you have other things you need to make it can be kind of a hassle. Oven fried okra requires no babysitting though; it only needs slicing and breading and then a quick roast in the oven. And I promise it comes out just as good. And I do not make promises about fried okra lightly.
Another alternative to this recipe, and how it actually started with my mom coming up with this idea, is to use corn muffin mix. It works great, too, but I wanted to come up with a way to make this using what I already have in my pantry. Adjust the ingredients to your taste here, too (Gerrit thought it could use a bit more salt, while I thought it was just about spot on).
- Olive oil
- 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup yellow corn meal
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 lb. okra, ends trimmed, sliced into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and then generously coat the foil with olive oil, spreading it out evenly. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir together.
- Place the okra in a separate bowl. Add the lightly beaten egg and stir to make sure that all the okra pieces are coated in egg. Then add the dry ingredients, stirring until all the okra is well coated. (You will probably have a bit more dry ingredients than you need, and you can either slowly add it until you've used the amount you think you need, or you can add it all and then shake the excess off the okra before placing it on the pan.)
- Spread the okra out on the prepared pan in an even layer. Drizzle olive oil over the top.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Then use a spatula to flip the okra on the pan. Return to the oven and bake for 5-10 more minutes, until the coating is golden brown. Serve immediately.