Adapted from a recipe from Jimmy Mashburn
1 lb. fresh okra, smallest size preferred (we get ours from the Middle Eastern markets), washed
1 c. room temperature water
½ t. French sea salt
2 c. olive oil
2 c. cornmeal
5 T. cornstarch
1 t. French sea salt for dusting
Trim the tops off of the okra and slice them in 1/4″ rounds. Place the trimmed okra in a shallow dish, pour the water over the okra and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Allow to sit for 10–15 minutes. While the okra is soaking, pour the oil into a wide non-stick skillet and slowly heat to 350°F, using a frying thermometer.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, cornstarch and sea salt and set aside. After the okra has rested in the water, gently massage the okra until the water thickens and becomes slimy. (This method will help the cornmeal coating stick to the okra.)
When the okra is ready, pull the okra from the dish and allow it to drain in your fingers for a few seconds, then drop into the cornmeal mixture. Toss evenly to coat well and then using a wire mesh sifter, sift the excess dredge off of the okra, being careful not to remove too much coating.
Drop the coated okra into the hot oil in small batches and fry until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with another dusting of French sea salt and serve immediately. Serves 4.