Cajun Fried Okra with Spicy Aioli

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the Okra:
1 pound fresh okra, rinsed and dried and tops trimmed
1 ½ cups all purpose flour, divided
1 cup buttermilk
¾ cup cornmeal, divided
2 teaspoons creole seasoning, plus more for finishing
Canola oil
Kosher salt

For Creole Seasoning:
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
½ tablespoon white pepper
½ tablespoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika
1 ½ tablespoon kosher salt

For Aioli:
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon creole seasoning
1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
2 teaspoons hot sauce, plus more to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Make the creole seasoning by whisking all ingredients together in a bowl. Make the aioli by whisking together all ingredients.

Pour oil (3-4 inches) into a large heavy bottomed pot and heat to 350 degrees.

In one large shallow bowl, whisk together half of the flour (3/4 cup) and a pinch of salt. In a separate large shallow bowl, pour in buttermilk. In a third large shallow bowl, whisk together the remaining flour, cornmeal, and 2 teaspoons creole seasoning.

Working in batches, add okra to flour and toss to coat. Transfer okra to bowl of buttermilk, shaking off excess flour as you do. Coat the okra in buttermilk. Finally, transfer the okra to the flour-cornmeal mixture and toss well to coat. Carefully lower the battered okra into the oil and fry for 5-7 minutes, until dark golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove okra from oil and transfer to a wire rack set over a sheet tray. While okra is hot, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and more creole seasoning.

Serve warm with aioli.

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