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Cornmeal Fried Okra with Eggplant Dip

Here is a different zesty and delicious twist on fried okra with a tasty and healthy eggplant dip. If you can find it, "emerald okra" would be ideal. Emerald is one of the most tender okras and a natural choice for frying. Be sure to choose organic or otherwise GMO-free cornmeal.

Ingredients

2 pounds ‘Emerald’ or other okra, halved lengthwise
1 quart buttermilk (preferably organic or raw)
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small eggplants, halved lengthwise
Himalayan or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup (5 ounces) pine nuts, toasted
Juice and zest of 1 large lemon (about 4 tablespoons juice; 1 tablespoon zest)
6 cups extra virgin olive oil, for frying
4 cups organic cornmeal (or at least GMO free cornmeal)
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper

(As always, choose organic content and fresh content as much as possible for the healthiest recipe.)

  

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place okra in a large bowl. Pour buttermilk over okra, covering completely. Set aside for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, drizzle 1/4 cup olive oil over eggplant and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Place eggplant, cut side down, on an aluminum foil–lined baking pan. Bake until very soft, about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 200°F. Scoop meat of eggplant into a blender or the bowl of a food processor, discarding skin. Add nuts, 1 cup water, remaining olive oil, and lemon juice and zest; puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.

3. Fit a baking pan with a wire rack; set aside. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot fitted with a deep-fry thermometer, heat olive oil over medium-high heat to 375°F. In a shallow dish, combine cornmeal, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons black pepper, and cayenne. In batches, dredge okra in cornmeal, then carefully deep-fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes. With tongs, transfer to a paper-towel-lined pan and season with salt. Transfer to prepared baking pan and keep warm in oven. Serve with reserved eggplant puree for dipping.

Yields 8 servings

Per serving: Calories 650, Total Fat 51g, Cholesterol 1mg, Sodium 917mg, Total Carbohydrates 46g, Dietary Fiber 8g, Protein 10g

Original recipe and image source: http://www.countryliving.com/recipefinder/cornmeal-fried-okra-eggplant-dip-recipe-clv0412

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