Cornmeal-Fried Okra, Tomatillos, and Tomatoes
The best American name for this vegetable would probably be “Mexican green tomato”, but they actually taste nothing like regular tomatoes, In fact, the tomatillo is not a tomato at all. The tomatillo has a tart, lemony flavor that is enhance when cooked (especially roasted) and is an excellent base for salsas. While salsa (salsa verde) is the most popular way to enjoy tomatillo, they can be used in other ways. Tomatillos contain high amounts of vitamin A&C. Tomatillos are our #2 sales item!
1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
1 lb young okra, trimmed
1/2 lb cherry tomatoes, halved through the stem end
1/2 lb large tomatillos, husked and cut into 1-inch wedges
2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
Hot sauce, for serving
In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the cornmeal, flour, cayenne and 2 teaspoons of salt. In a large, shallow bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the egg.
Dip the okra in the egg and, using a slotted spoon, transfer it to the plastic bag. Shake to coat completely and transfer the okra to a large plate. Repeat with the cherry tomatoes and then the tomatillos.
Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet until shimmering. Fry the okra over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Reheat the oil and fry the cherry tomatoes until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Reheat the oil and fry the tomatillos, then drain. Gently toss the fried vegetables, season with salt and serve hot, with hot sauce on the side.
Serves 6 to 8.
By Michael Lomonaco, foodandwine.com.