Buttermilk-battered okra fries with Comeback sauce recipe

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If people think they don’t like okra, it’s usually because they haven’t had it in season (May through September) or otherwise fried right. I know—I used to be one of the people who could only stomach it encased (read: hidden) in a fortress of cornmeal. And while I still like it that way, I’m fonder of slicing okra lengthwise like “fries,” and using a light buttermilkand-flour-based batter to help show off okra’s curves and seedy charm. I’ve paired it here with Comeback Sauce, but it’s also good with Creole Rémoulade Sauce or Goodly Ranch Dip.

  • Yield: 6 Servings about six fries each; makes 2 cups sauce

Ingredients

Comeback Sauce
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup chili sauce
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated sweet or white onion or ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dijon or yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon hot or smoked paprika
  • Salt (optional)
Okra Fries
  • canola or corn oil for frying
  • 8 ounces small to medium okra pods, stemmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or enough to cover okra)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • Salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
How to Make It
    To make the Sauce
  1. In a food processor, purée the mayonnaise, chili sauce, ketchup, olive oil, garlic, onion, Worcestershire, lemon juice, mustard, black pepper, hot sauce, and paprika. (Or use a medium bowl and whisk to combine all the ingredients.) Season with salt, if needed, cover tightly, and let the sauce sit overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  2. To make the Okra
  3. Place several layers of paper towels atop a paper bag or platter. Keep it close to where you’ll be frying
  4. canola oil to a depth of 2 to 4 inches. Heat to 350°F. (If not using an electric fryer, use a fry/candy thermometer to ensure the temperature stays consistent.)
  5. In a medium bowl, soak the sliced okra in the buttermilk and set aside.
  6. In a paper bag or large plastic zip-top bag, combine the flour, cornstarch, ¾ teaspoon salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne (if using).
  7. Drain the buttermilk-soaked okra and dredge it in the flour mixture. Carefully shake off any excess flour.
  8. Fry the okra in batches of seven or eight pieces for 2 to 3 minutes, or until crispy and light golden brown, turning them carefully midway through.
  9. Use a fry basket or slotted spoon to remove the okra to drain on the paper towels. While still hot, season the okra with additional salt, if desired.
  10. Serve the okra fries immediately with the sauce.
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