Saturday, as we were getting ready to leave the farmer’s market in Howe Meadow we noticed one of the vendors was running late and just setting up. He had some beautiful yellow and purple carrots so we stopped to buy a bunch. I was looking them over when Beloved said, “Jan – look! He’s got okra!!”
To which I replied, “I’ll take all you’ve got.”
So I did – all those other poor patrons didn’t have a chance.
Is there a more Southern vegetable than okra? I don’t think so, and I’ve missed it in the years since we’ve come to Ohio. You can’t imagine my delight when I was told we’d receive some in our CSA box this summer, but that didn’t stop me from snatching up a little over two quarts of it when I had the opportunity, and it was gone two days later.
Depending on how much we receive with our CSA deliveries this summer and how much we find for sale at farmer’s markets (Beloved asked the farmer if he had trouble selling it – we’d been told that many of the CSA members had turned it down last year – but the farmer said it sells really quickly and he had to plant more this spring to meet the demand) you may see quite a few recipes featuring okra this year.
Many people don’t like it because of its mucilaginous quality, which is a polite way of saying that it can get “slimy” when cooked. Leaving the pods intact, such as in this recipe, or combining it with acidic ingredients, such as tomatoes or vinegar, or long slow cooking, such as gumbo, will often help mitigate the sliminess. Because the plant grows well in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world it is popular in Middle Eastern, African, Caribbean and some Asian cuisines and I plan on using it accordingly.
We’ll start off with something simple but delicious. I recently declared my love of roasted vegetables, and okra is no exception – the smaller pods were especially good roasted. So don’t fear the okra, y’all – it’s some tasty stuff.
4 cups whole okra
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 425 F.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the okra with the olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and toss again. Spread the okra in a single layer on a shallow, rimmed baking sheet.
Roast in the oven until the okra for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the okra turns brown and becomes crisp.
Posted in participation of Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday