Mini Okra Pancakes
I served these at my annual garden party for chefs and friends, and people couldn't get enough. The trick is to serve them hot off the griddle, so make sure you have someone to fry them in a skillet, and someone else to pass them around while they're still hot. I've found that people will eat as many of these as they can get, but one or two per person is plenty and when they're gone, they're gone. (The recipe doubles easily if you're serving a crowd, though.)
3/4 cup cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
, plus more if needed
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 cups fresh okra, stemmed and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces or 8 ounces package frozen sliced okra, thawed
1/4 cup drained, chopped pickled jalapeño chiles (or use a store-bought version)
2 small onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 cloves garlic
Mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and black pepper together in a bowl, along with the cayenne pepper if desired.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, the 1 cup buttermilk, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and the mustard.
Sprinkle the chopped okra evenly with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Add the okra, pickled jalapeños, onions, and garlic to the egg mixture and stir until combined. Add the cornmeal mixture and stir lightly until just combined. The dough should resemble a thin pancake batter. If it seems too thick, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of buttermilk.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet set over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, drop in 2 heaping tablespoons batter per pancake, leaving room between pancakes so they don't touch. Cook the pancakes, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Serve immediately.
My garden was producing way more jalapeños than I could manage, so I decided to pickle them. I tossed a few chopped, pickled chiles into the pancakes and loved the result. You can leave them out if you like.