Fried Okra Poppers
Source: Gourmet, August 1998
24 Ritz crackers
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
2 ounces chilled pepper jack cheese
12 medium okra
2 cups corn oil or other vegetable oil for frying
Salsa (for serving)
In a food processor, finely grind crackers. Whisk together cracker crumbs, flour, and salt to taste. In another bowl beat egg. Cut pepper Jack into twelve 1 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/4-inch pieces. With a sharp knife cut a 2-inch slit lengthwise on side of each okra. With your fingers gently pull slit slightly open and insert a slice of cheese. Transfer okra to a plate and chill 5 minutes. Working in batches of 4, dip stuffed okra in egg to coat, roll in cracker crumb mixture. Arrange coated okra in one layer on plate and chill 5 minutes.
In a deep 10-inch heavy skillet heat oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Fry okra, 4 at a time, turning them, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon transfer okra to paper towels to drain. Season okra with salt and serve hot with salsa.
Makes 12 poppers.
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