Caitlin Bensel
Serves 8 (serving size: 3/4 cup)

Forget frying—this oven-fried version delivers the must-have crunch of fried okra without the hot mess of oil and all the calories that come with it. The secret is gently smashing the okra pods—you can use a skillet or rolling pin if you don’t have a meat mallet—it opens them up and provides more surface area (i.e., more opportunities for extra-crispy action). For the best results, pick out smaller okra pods; the larger they grow, the tougher they get.

How to Make It

Preheat oven to 450°F with baking sheet in oven. Gently smash fresh okra. Whisk together low-fat buttermilk and 1 large egg in a bowl. Add okra; let stand 3 minutes. Combine fine yellow cornmeal, kosher salt, and pepper in a bowl; dredge okra in mixture. Add canola oil to hot pan; tilt pan to coat. Add okra; coat with cooking spray. Bake until crisp, 25 to 30 minutes, turning once.

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