Most of my family moved north to Montana several years ago.
It started with my aunt, who works up there. After that, my grandma followed. Then my uncle moved up there. Then my parents moved up there.
Montana has its perks, but good food is NOT one of them. Don’t ever try to order a chicken fried steak in that state (or anywhere north of the Oklahoma-Kansas border, basically).
There’s a definite lack of diversity when it comes to restaurants, too. Finding a good Mexican or Chinese food restaurant is like finding a needle in a haystack—it’s basically impossible.
When my family comes down here to visit me, they always have to get a number of fixes: Mexican food, Chinese takeout, fried catfish and fried okra.
I guess fried okra is one of those things you just can’t find outside of Southern states. It’s so abundant here I forget about it most of the time.
I’ve also never been a fried okra fan. I don’t regularly choose it as my go-to side at the chicken place down the street, and I don’t really ever eat it.
However, I found a recipe in an old church cookbook that called for fried okra I just HAD to try. The words “fried okra salad” were plastered to the top of the page, with a little blurb from the recipe’s author, a woman named Mary Bryant from Ponca City, Oklahoma:
“Even if you aren’t an okra fan, you might want to try this. It’s good. It’s also a pretty dish to pretty up your table.”
Okay, Mary Bryant, you sold it to me. I’ll try it.
I’m glad I tried this. It ended up crunchy, tangy, and sweet. It’s a great little salad to serve with a barbecue dinner or burgers. It reminds me of cowboy caviar but with fried okra instead of black-eyed peas.
I hope you take Mary Bryant’s words to heart and make this. You won’t be disappointed.
Fried Okra Salad
A crispy, tangy salad with fried okra, fresh tomatoes, red pepper and green onions.
- Fry or air fry breaded okra according to package instructions. If air frying, place okra in a single layer in air fryer (you might have to cook in batches). Spray with cooking spray and cook at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden and crispy. You want the okra to be well done, so it doesn’t get soggy with the dressing.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, mix cooled okra with tomatoes, green onions, red pepper flakes, oregano and bell pepper. Stir in bacon and dressing (oil and vinegar mixture) and toss until everything is well coated. Serve.