When garden season is in full swing it's the perfect chance to use fresh okra in an unexpected way. That's precisely how this Okra Cornbread came to life. In it, sliced okra, tangy red onion and sweet red bell pepper is mixed with cornmeal batter then baked until golden in a buttered cast iron skillet. Whole okra on top give a hint as to the flavor and it's eye candy, too.
When it comes to okra, there are people on both sides of the fence. Some people fall into the category of fans and some that aren't the biggest fans. For my family, it depends on how the okra is cooked, they definitely prefer okra fried. That said, from time to time I sneak okra into my succotash and they also enjoy it in this cornbread.
Tips For Choosing Fresh Okra
When choosing okra to use in this cornbread or any recipe, it has to be fresh. If you gently bend the okra and it feels rubbery that means the okra is tough and it's old, it's just that simple. So, make sure you shop for okra at a trusted farmstand or market and you'll be good to go. There's also cream style corn in the batter for this recipe giving it a really tender crumb and texture. Seve it slathered with sweet cream butter alongside your favorite vegetable plate, soup, stew or pintos. Other fabulous cornbread variations to try is my Jalapeno Pepper Jack Cornbread or these individual Zucchini Cornbread Muffins.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
- 2 cups plain yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1 ½ Tbsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup ¼-inch sliced okra cut on bias
- ½ cup finely diced shallot or red onion
- ⅓ cup finely diced red bell pepper
- 1 14 oz can cream style corn
- 1 ¼ cup buttermilk
- 6 Tbsp butter divided
- 3 large eggs
- 8 whole okra stems removed
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Add 4 Tbsp butter to a 10 ¼-inch cast iron skillet. Place into the oven to melt while the oven preheats. Leave in oven just until melted then remove and set aside.
- Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl, use a whisk to sift together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- Add the okra, onion and red pepper to the dry ingredients. Mix until coated.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the cream style corn, buttermilk and eggs until fully combined. Melt remaining 2 Tbsp butter and add to wet ingredients.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Mix until fully moistened.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and swirl the butter to coat the sides of the skillet. Alternately, use a basting brush to brush the sides. Pour the batter into the skillet and arrange whole okra on top.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center shows moist crumbs.
- Slice and serve warm with butter.
- 10 ¼-inch skillet will yield 8 pieces (8 whole okra)
- 12-inch skillet will yield 10 pieces (10 whole okra)