Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Soul Food

This week's cookbook is The Gift of Southern Cooking: Recipes and Revelations From Two Great American Cooks by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock

Okra Pancakes

(Makes approximately sixteen 2-inch pancakes, enough to serve 4 as a supper or 6-8 as a side dish)

These pancakes, pan-fried like fritters, are delightfully crispy, so even those who think they hate the "slimy" aspect of okra will enjoy them. As well as making a nice supper dish, they can be served as a bread or a side vegetable or even as a cocktail nibble. In place of okra, you might stir grated raw squash or cooked eggplant or sauteed winter greens into the batter. Just be sure to eat them right away, before they lose their crispness.

1/2 cup stone-ground white cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Baking Powder (Homemade baking powder recipe is included in cookbook)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cups thinly sliced okra
Oil for frying

1. Put the cornmeal, flour, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and baking powder in a mixing bowl, and stir well with a whisk to blend. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and water, then stir into the dry ingredients, mixing only until moistened. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the freshly ground pepper over the onion and sliced okra, and toss lightly. Fold the vegetables into the batter.

2. Pour 1 inch of oil into a heavy skillet and heat to 340 degrees F. Spoon the okra batter by heaping tablespoons into the hot oil: do not overcrowd the pan. Fry until golden brown on one side, then carefully turn and continue frying until both sides are browned. Remove from the skillet and drain well on a draining rack or crumpled paper towels.

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