Combine the okra and 2 cups water in a 3-quart saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for 10 minutes, then remove the okra with a slotted spoon and set aside. Raise the heat until the water comes to a brisk boil and add the cornmeal in a thin, steady stream while stirring constantly to prevent lumping.
Add the salt and reserved okra and cook for about 10 minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the butter 1 piece at a time, stirring after each addition, until all the butter is incorporated. Keep stirring until the okra has practically disappeared and the cornmeal is light. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.
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