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Okra Cornmeal Cakes

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Yields 12 (3-inch) cakes

  • by Virginia Willis from Basic to Brilliant, Y'all

Serve these delicious okra cakes in bite-size bits for a cocktail nibble or larger cakes for a side dish. In the middle of summer, try adding fresh corn cut off the cob as well. The larger cakes are also brilliant layered with a soft, creamy cheese, such as fresh goat cheese or ricotta and thickly sliced tomato to make a Napoleon.

  • 2 cups fine yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups water, more if needed
  • 8 oz. okra, stems trimmed and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 jalapeño, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed into a paste
  • 1/4 cup corn oil, for frying

Line a plate with paper towels. Set aside.

To prepare the batter, in a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, baking powder, and fine salt. In a second bowl or large liquid measuring cup, combine the egg and water. Add to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Add the okra, jalapeño, and garlic. Stir to combine. (The batter is thick, but should be wet, not dry. Add water as needed; the amount will depend on the size grind of the cornmeal.)

To fry the griddle cakes, heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter onto the heated skillet and press into an even layer. Repeat with additional batter, without crowding. Cook the cakes until the bottoms are brown and bubbles form on the tops and edges, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and brown the other side, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the paper towel–lined plate. While hot, season with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately.

Photo: Hélène Dujardin

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