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Tomato-and-Okra Cornmeal Cakes

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck
Hands-on time 50 mins
Total time 50 mins
Yield Makes 16 appetizer servings
Other tasty additions to this recipe might include bacon pieces, microgreens, chopped avocado, or fresh broccoli sprouts.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 pound fresh okra, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup of your favorite pimiento cheese
  • Arugula
  • 1 pound small tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • Fresh basil leaves

How to Make It

  1. Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together egg and 1 1/2 cups water; add to cornmeal mixture, whisking until smooth.

  2. Smash garlic to make a paste. Stir okra, jalapeño, and garlic paste into cornmeal mixture. (Batter will be thick and will thicken even more as it sits, so add water, if needed.)

  3. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Pour 1 Tbsp. batter for each cake into skillet, and gently flatten into a 2-inch cake. (Don't overcrowd the cakes in the skillet.) Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles. Turn and cook 2 to 3 more minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Keep warm in a 200° oven. Repeat procedure with remaining batter and oil.

  4. Spread each cake with about 1 tsp. pimiento cheese. Top with arugula, tomato, basil, and kosher salt and pepper.