Glen Leven Cornmeal-Crusted Buttermilk Okra

Chef Derek Brooks of Nashville’s beloved Capitol Grille at the Hermitage Hotel pays homage to Southern tradition with local heirloom okra, cornmeal, and, of course, a deep cast-iron skillet
fried okra

“We wanted to showcase the heirloom okra from The Hermitage Hotel Garden at Glen Leven Farm. One of the traditional ways to present that is marinated in buttermilk, dredged in cornmeal, and then fried.” — Chef Derek Brooks of the Capitol Grille, The Hermitage Hotel



  • 1 pound fresh okra, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Whole-Grain Mustard Remoulade (recipe follows)


| Stir together okra and buttermilk in a large bowl. In a separate large bowl, stir together cornmeal and next three ingredients.

| Remove okra from buttermilk, in batches, using a slotted spoon. Dredge in cornmeal mixture, and place in a wire-mesh strainer. Shake off excess.

| Pour oil to depth of 1 inch into a large, deep cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven; heat to 375°.

| Fry okra, in batches, 4 minutes or until golden, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with Whole-Grain Mustard Remoulade.



  • 1 cup Duke’s mayonnaise
  • 1 whole lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chives)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


| Stir together mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest, whole-grain mustard, and herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe by Derek Brooks, executive chef at the Capitol Grille at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville. The Capitol Grille is featured in Flower‘s story “Three Farm-to-Restaurant Travel Destinations.”