Cru Chef John’s Benne Seed Fried Okra Salad
June 16, 2015
From our Chef, John Zucker:
“When I was approached to put together a recipe for okra it instantly became a challenge. I wanted to think out of the box but this box seemed really small. Although I’ve lived in Charleston for 24 years my schooling is definitely not from the southern palette. What have I seen over the years? Okra was in gumbo, soups and stews, pickled and fried. Raw is not an option. Where to go from there? Growing up in California I can honestly say I had never seen okra and my Grandfather was in wholesale produce for 70 years.
Well, this is what I came up with after trying several attempts to recreate a vegetable that has a long history in the south. I wanted to utilize as many local ingredients as possible and create a new version of an older preparation. I hope you enjoy it!”
Chef John’s Benne Seed Fried Okra Salad
Baby Kale, Local Peach, Tear Drop Tomato
PREPARING THE OKRA
10 OKRA – cut in half inch rounds
1 cup BUTTERMILK
1T SESAME OIL
1 cup FLOUR
2 T BLACK SESAME SEEDS
2 T WHITE SESAME SEEDS
2 T GINGER POWDER
PREPARING THE PEACHES
2 ea FRESH PEACHES – small dice
1T PICKLED GINGER – chopped fine
1t RICE WINE VINEGAR
¼ SHALLOT – chopped fine
1T BASIL – chopped
1t LIME JUICE
PREPARING THE SALAD
BABY KALE – rough chop
8 ea TEARDROP TOMATO – cut in quarters
¼ RED ONION – thin julienne
2 T CHIFFANADE BASIL – chopped
2t LIME JUICE
2T OLIVE OIL
SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
FOR FRYING – Deep Sauce Pan, Spider to remove fried okra.
Leave at least four inches from the top of the oil to the top of the pan.
DO NOT PUT TO MUCH OIL IN THE SAUCE PAN
PEANUT OIL 350 DEGREES – (or vegetable oil)
Cut the tops and tips off the okra. Cut Okra into half inch rounds. In a mixing bowl add together both sesame seeds to the flour, ginger powder, salt and pepper and mix together.
In a separate bowl add together the buttermilk, siracha and sesame oil. Add the cut okra to the buttermilk to marinate. Let marinate for 45 minutes.
Heat the oil to 350 degrees. Using a slotted spoon add the marinated okra to the flour mixture trying not to get much of the liquid in the flour. Coat the okra generously with the flour mixture. Carefully remove the okra from the flour so that it remains coated. Add the okra directly to the oil from the flour “SLOWLY”. You might have to fry the okra in a few separate batches. Remove the okra from the oil and place on a sheet tray lined with paper towels. Salt and pepper the okra as soon as it comes out of the oil.
Cut peaches into small dice. Put the cut peaches in a mixing bowl. Add to the peaches pickled ginger, honey, rice wine vinegar, shallot, basil and lime juice. Set aside.
TO FINISH – In a separate bowl add the kale, tomato and red onion. Carefully add the fried okra. Add the lime juice, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper to taste. Mix together with care so the okra holds its coating. The fried okra can loose its breading if you aren’t gentle with the salad.
Plate the salad and top with the peach mixture. Sprinkle black sesame seeds on top.