Why do so many people turn up their noses when they hear the word okra? Growing up in the south, I ate okra as often as say someone in Georgia might eat a peach. Being someone who can at times gravitate to the extreme, I was also the kid who, when enjoying a bowl of Burgoo (am I getting too country for you now), used to pick out all of the okra to devour first. However, I find people from other parts of the country either have never heard of okra or have an unexplained aversion to it.
I introduced Kenya and Chloe to this exquisite green vegetable, a very good source of Vitamins A, C, and K, right when they started eating solid foods and now I've got two okra lovin' kids. We usually enjoy it prepared simply, steamed as a side dish, but when I made these okra fries and served them up with a little marinara sauce on the side for dipping, the kids looked at me like I truly had reinvented the wheel (and improved on it)! My 2 year old, Chloe, likes to pull the okra out of the crust and eat both parts separately (it is hilarious to watch) while the rest of us like to just dip and leave our "fries" intact. Crunchy on the outside, tender and sweet on the inside, these Okra "Fries" are delicious, a healthier alternative to real fries because there is no actual frying involved and a great way to get your family to eat one of my favorite veggies -- with no upturned noses!
Okra "Fries" (Serves 4)
- 1 Lb Whole Okra
- 1/3 Cup Flour
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- 1 Tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 Cup Italian Breadcrumbs or Panko
Preparation1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Make an “assembly line” by placing the flour in one bowl, the eggs in a second bowl, and the salt and breadcrumbs in a third.
3. Roll the okra in the flour and pat to remove excess flour.
4. Dip the flour-coated okra in the egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs. Dip in the egg again and roll into the breadcrumbs once more to double coat the okra.
5. Place okra on a cookie sheet sprayed or greased with olive oil. When all the coated okra is on the sheet, spray again to lightly coat.
6. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.