Hey, y’all and Happy Weekend! I don’t normally post recipes to the blog on Saturday, but my summer schedule has been all over the place this year. I’m hoping to get back into a normal blogging routine soon, as I think we’ve almost recovered from all the activity around our daughter’s wedding in June. It was fabulous, by the way, and that’s what has inspired me to try recreating Pimento Cheese Okra Bites, one of the Southern appetizers served at the reception. Wrap your head around this: pickled okra + pimento cheese + fried okra = the ultimate Southern cuisine appetizer!
The wedding was a blending of cultures – the Southern belle wed her Sri Lankan prince (not exactly, but it sounds romantic, right?!) – with a traditional Catholic Nuptial Mass followed by a cocktail hour with Southern appetizers and an Indian inspired reception. Southern and Spice was the theme of the evening.
Along with these Pimento Cheese Okra Bites, the appetizers included Honey and Siracha Glazed Chicken Biscuits and Country Ham on Sweet Potato Biscuits with Apple Butter catered by The Clean Plate Club. The Indian buffet included traditional Sri Lankan style curries – chicken curry, mutton curry, goat curry, parrupu, kathari kai (egg plant) kulambu, cabbage varai, carrot sambal, chutneys, and more.
The okra appetizer was probably my very favorite, and so once we got home I decided to try creating a copy cat recipe. The process is a little bit messy, but the uniqueness of this appetizer is worth the effort. I started with a jar of my pickled okra, pimento cheese from the deli, and corn meal. With a paring knife, create a slit lengthwise on each pod and then gently scrape out some of the seeds along the cut. Dry the okra gently with a paper towel and then stuff them with about a half teaspoon of pimento cheese and dredge them in cornmeal.
After this process, dredge them in cornmeal again – just for good measure – and pop them into the refrigerator to chill for about an hour (which is a necessary step for the best frying results). To finish, fry the okra either in a skillet on the stove top or a deep fryer, but keep in mind that these only need to cook for a minute or two – just long enough to brown the breading. Frying too long will result in the pimento cheese melting too much and oozing out of the okra pods.
Maybe they’re not the prettiest, but they are pretty darn tasty! Enjoy, friends!
- 1 jar pickled okra
- pimento cheese from the deli (about 1/2 teaspoon per okra pod)
- 1 cup cornmeal
- canola oil for frying
- Cut a slit lengthwise in each okra pod and gently scrape out some of the seeds along the slit. Dry the pods gently with a paper towel.
- Stuff each okra pod with about 1/2 teaspoon pimento cheese - do not over stuff as the cheese will melt and splatter when frying.
- Pour cornmeal into a shallow dish and dredge each okra pod, shaking off the excess. When finished with the last pod, start dredging each pod once more. Shake off excess cornmeal and place on plate in refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.
- In a large skillet, add enough canola oil to fill one inch. Heat over medium high heat - do not allow oil to smoke. Add a few pieces of okra at a time and fry one to two minutes, turning frequently, or just until the breading is browned, being careful not to burn.
- Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.
* May use a deep fryer if desired.