Air Fryer "Fried" Okra
Okra is a staple in the American South, and I'm all for it, especially fried okra. Nonetheless, fried okra isn't terribly good for you. Sure, the okra itself is loaded with dietary fiber and vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), vitamin K, beta-carotene, niacin, and thiamine. Okra also is a good source of iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, pantothenic acid, xanthin, and lutein. Nonetheless, deep frying okra pretty much negates the benefits of the vegetable. Really! So instead of deep frying okra, try air frying it for superior nutrition and for a taste that is lighter and more redolent of the vegetable than of deep fryer oil. The recipe I'm providing below is simple, quick, and a version of the fried okra my Mom made for many years. She used cornmeal in her recipe and fried the okra in a cast iron skillet with a little bacon fat. I use cornmeal, but the bacon fat is long gone. Even so, the air fryer "fried" okra comes out nice and crispy and full of flavor.
Air Fryer "Fried" Okra -- Serves 4
1 1/2 - 2 pounds fresh okra, washed well and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 tablespoon of olive or canola oil
1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup of yellow cornmeal
Preheat the air fryer for a few minutes at 400 degrees. In a large plastic bag combine all the ingredients, seal the bag, and shake it gently until the okra is well coated. When the air fryer is hot, remove the basket and spritz it with a little non-stick cooking spray. Add half the okra, spritz it with cooking spray, and air fry it for about 15 minutes or until the coating is golden brown, shaking the basket mid-way through the cooking process (or flip the okra with a spatula, if you prefer). If you like extra-crispy okra, at the midway through/shaking/flipping point, spritz the okra again with a little cooking spray before returning the basket to the air fryer. When the first batch of okra is done, dump the "fried" okra out into a metal pan and cover it with foil to keep it warm. Add the remaining okra to the basket and air fry it for about 15 minutes or until it turns golden brown.