Sunday, August 30, 2009
In praise of the green pod
Quick, what's the first word that comes to mind when I say the word "okra"?
Yeah, I figured. I'd bet most of you out there would say "SLIME." But I'm here today to share with you a new recipe for the preparation of okra. And no, this isn't a joke.
There are three kinds of people in the world, you see. There are people who think okra should only be served fried. There are people who would rather eat ground glass than eat okra at all.
And then there are people like me, who love okra in all its incarnations.
Fried. Stewed. With corn and tomatoes. In a gumbo.
And now, roasted. Yep, I said roasted. You won't believe how good it can be!
Here's a little information on that wonderful veggie, courtesy of about.com
Okra comes from a large vegetable plant thought to be of African origin, and it was brought to the United States three centuries ago by African slaves. The word, derived from the West African nkruma, was in use by the late 1700s. Grown in tropical and warm temperate climates, it is in the same plant family as hibiscus and cotton.
Okra is usually available fresh year-round in the South, and from May to October in many other areas. You can also find okra frozen, pickled, and canned, and in some regions you might find frozen breaded okra for deep frying. When buying fresh okra, look for young pods free of bruises, tender but not soft, and no more than 4 inches long. Okra may be stored in the refrigerator in a paper bag or wrapped in a paper towel in a perforated plastic bag for 2 to 3 days, or it may be frozen for up to 12 months after blanching whole for 2 minutes. Cooked okra can be stored (tightly covered) in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
So here's the recipe for Roasted Okra
The recipe is simple: Wash, drain and sort okra, selecting small pinky-sized and medium pods from the big woody ones. If you're picking fresh okra at a market.
Lay the pods flat on a baking sheet so it doesn't overlap. Drizzle with olive oil (garlic flavored olive oil is great with this) and sprinkle with your best sea salt.
Bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes until the pods are slightly collapsed and browned.
The outside is crunchy (like friend) and the inside is moist but not slimy. It's a delicious side dish!
I know, you'll either love it or hate it. You decided.
Much love, and try it!