The premier pod of summer, okra is in its prime right now. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of produce. Long and tender, tapered at the end with symmetrical ridges running the length of it, segments cut from it are star-shaped with an almost perfectly round seed nestled inside each of the eight chambers, or locules.
You can spend much of a day prepping and stirring a pot of gumbo, filling your home with the scent of supper, or you can toss whole pods in olive oil and salt and roast them in 30 minutes. And, don't forget, it is a superfood!
Hundreds of pounds of the vegetable are coming out of our garden each week. We, and our CSA members, often feel buried under it at this point in the year, so we solicited recipes for some mid-season inspiration.
The “Okra in Sesame Coconut Sauce” was the clear winner,
with “Tomato and Grilled Okra Panzanella Salad” coming in second.
There was not enough time to prepare all of the recipes entered, so we voted on the top 6 to try. The other four dishes were "Mock Shoe", "Okra with Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs", "Undecided Okra Stew", and "Okra with Harissa and Feta".
Many thanks to everyone that entered! And a huge thank you to Jennifer and everyone at Spirits Wine Cellar for hosting the recipe tasting!
All 6 recipes for the dishes at the tasting are included below.
Okra in sesame coconut sauce
from Jana Wheeler
2 teaspoons oil
3-4 cups okra, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
Cook until okra is slightly crisp, 8-9 minutes, add a pinch of salt, stirring occasionally
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3/4 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (or powder)
3/4 cup chopped red onion
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch knob ginger, minced
1 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or a fresh one)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 -1 teaspoon Garam Masala
3/4 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup coconut flakes (unsweetened!)
Heat oil in skillet. Add coriander and cumin seeds and cook for 30 sec. Add onion, garlic, ginger, cook about 5 minutes.
Add turmeric, cayenne, salt, garam masala, stir a few seconds. Add tomato, sesame seeds, coconut, cook 3-4 minutes, mash tomato a bit. Let slightly cool, transfer to a blender with 1/2 cup water, blend until smooth.
Add puree and okra back to skillet, cook for about 5 minutes.
Amazing over rice, with flatbread, other curries if we feel fancy, or by itself! :)
Tomato and Grilled Okra Panzanella Salad
from Elizabeth Alford
2 cups okra, grilled and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups heirloom tomato, cut into 1 inch cubes/pieces (a firmer tomato is preferable, like the Cherokee Purple)
1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 1/2 T. Kosher salt
Small (or 1/2 regular) french baguette, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 gloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, finely chopped or smashed
2 T sherry vinegar
2 T balsamic vinegar
1/3 - 1/2 c. olive oil
1 tsp dijon
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Toss whole okra lightly in olive or canola oil. Grill 3-4 minutes each side over medium-high heat, until grill marks develop. Remove from grill, allow to cool, then chop roughly into 1-inch pieces.
2. Over high heat, melt 1/4 cup butter and blend with 1/2 cup olive oil. Add 3 cloves garlic and cook until fragrant. Toss in bread cubes so they are well coated with oil/butter. Cook until bread crumbs begin to develop golden-brown color. Remove croutons from heat and remove garlic cloves. Place croutons on baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees 10-15 minutes until crisp and golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
3. In large salad bowl, combine tomato, okra, croutons, kosher salt, and basil. Allow to sit while dressing is made.
4. Whisk together all dressing ingredients until well emulsified. Toss with salad and allow to sit 15-20 minutes before serving.
Serve room temperature as an appetizer or top with your favorite grilled protein for a complete meal!
from Suzanne Hoye
1 cup Conecuh Sausage, cut into small pieces
2cups okra, bite sized pieces
2cups corn cut from cob
1/2cup onion. Chopped
1/2 cup red pepper. Chopped
1/2 cup water
1 large tomatoe cut into bite sized pieces
2-3 tbsp butter, divided
Salt and pepper
Brown the sausage in a Dutch oven using a small amount of butter. Medium heat. Remove and set aside when browned
Add a little butter to the pan and melt. Add onion and pepper, cook a minute or so til onion is transparent. Remove and set aside
Add the rest of the butter, melt, add corn and okra. Cook about 5 minutes, til tender. Add the sausage, onion and pepper and water to the mix. Bring to a boil. Add tomato and turn down the heat to low. Cook 5 minutes, salt and pepper to taste, then serve. If you have any leftovers, it’s even good cold
Okra with cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs
from Stefani Mugnaini
I split the pods on the bias. With bigger pods, maybe two cuts.
Dice onion and mince garlic, throw everything in a very hot skillet, in the order of okra-onion-garlic, adding the onion after the okra gets a little charred and blistered, and the garlic after the onions start Browning.
Season with salt, pepper, cumin or Chipotle powder.
Then I toss a few cherry tomatoes in, toss everything just long enough for the tomatoes to pop, and then serve, garnished with chopped fresh herbs. Basil or savory or Italian parsley.
Undecided Okra Stew
(6 servings, vegan, probably low-fat)
from Chase Wrenn
I love okra curries. I love gumbo. This isn’t either, but it’s what I make when I can’t decide which I want. Feel free to turn up the heat with more spices.
1-2 lbs okra, trimmed and cut into ½” pieces
2 medium onions
2 ribs celery
1 red bell pepper
1 jalapeño pepper
2 tsp each of
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp vegetable oil (plus more if needed)
2 tsp dried thyme
1 block super-firm tofu, cubed
1 large can crushed tomatoes
3 cups vegetable broth
2 (dry) cups rice, prepared according to package instructions. (Basmati is great; I like long grain brown rice with this)
Food processor and pressure cooker (I use an Instant Pot). You could do this without them and just simmer on the stove until you’re happy with it, but I think this way is most convenient.
Okra with Harissa and Feta
from Brett Louise
Remove ends of okra and slice pods lengthwise down the middle. Season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet and add okra to skillet. Cook at medium-high heat for about 8 minutes, or until okra has softened and charred a bit.
Add a bit of cumin and a bit of garlic powder (alternatively, you can mince and sautee garlic with the okra). Reduce heat to medium-low. Add one to three heaping tablespoons of harissa (to taste, depending on your desired spice level and amount of okra).
Stir about two minutes more, until heated through. To serve, top with lots of crumbled feta, or if you prefer, a generous dollop of yogurt. Yum!
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