I’m on my way home from Charleston today, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a recipe for you.
But first: I’d mentioned last week that I’m trying not to cook a whole lot with almond flour; I’ve been using it not to excess, really, but more than I probably should lately. For one thing, it’s quite high in calories – far more so than any grain-based flour, simply because it’s much higher in fat. And speaking of fat, most of the fat in almonds may be monounsaturated (the kind of fat found in olive oil), but nuts contain a fair amount of omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids; if you remember, I wrote a bit last summer about how the Standard American Diet provides us with far too many omega 6 PUFAs and far too few omega 3s. If that isn’t bad enough, it’s generally not good to heat PUFAs – it oxidizes them, and oxidized fats are bad fats (read: trans fats). And for my last reason: nuts contain lectins which, like grains and legumes, bind to nutrients and prevent the body from absorbing them. Soaking and drying nuts can neutralize those lectins, just like soaking/sprouting grains and legumes can, but most commercially available nut flours are not soaked, so unless you’re prepared to soak, dry and grind your own nut flours, it’s probably a good idea to limit the use of almond flour to the occasional treat.
Now, having said that, this is an excellent use of almond flour – it definitely qualifies as a “treat.” In a BIG way. I LOVE Fried Okra, and this is just about the best I’ve eaten in many, many years. If you’ve never eaten okra, or for some odd reason don’t care for it, this is the kind of dish that will make you love it. I know I did – enough to eat every last piece of it. *burp*
Note: Again, if you don’t have any grass-fed tallow, may I suggest Spectrum’s Organic Palm Oil Shortening for frying.
serves 4, or me in a ravenous frenzy
2 cups sliced okra
1 large egg
2 tablespoons water
1 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 cup tallow or other fat suitable for frying
Mix the almond flour with the salt, pepper and cayenne in a shallow dish, such as a pie plate. In a small bowl, whisk the egg together with the water. Set aside.
Melt the tallow or cooking fat in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat to a temperature of 350 F.
Toss half the sliced okra in the egg wash and remove using a slotted spoon, allowing the excess to run off. Add the okra to the seasoned almond flour and lightly toss until well coated.
Fry the coated okra until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes, turning once about halfway through. Remove the okra from the fat with a spatula or slotted spoon, transferring to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
Repeat with the remaining okra. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.