AskChefDonna

 

 

okra

For many, this is exciting news. For others, not so much. Okra is a vegetable that I find people either love, dislike or haven’t had the opportunity to try. In our region of the world, okra isn’t very popular but cooked with love and yummy seasonings, it can be a delicious addition to your favorite produce. Here at Stony Point Center, the farmers grow two varieties of okra. A more traditional in color, green Clemson Spineless and a more unusual variety seen less often at your grocery store, a red-colored Red Burgundy okra. Once cooked, I found the color and taste of both types to be very similar. So much so, that in a blind taste test, I could not tell the difference between them. Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of okra, but during this batch of recipe testing, I found a way in which I really enjoyed it. 

 

Okra has a relatively firm, entirely edible outside and edible seed pod inside. Just as with zucchini, you just discard (compost)a bit on both ends and eat the whole vegetable. Easy breezy, no seeding, no peeling. When cooked slowly, the consistency of okra can be firmer on the outside, gelatinous on the inside. This works well for stews and can serve well as your stews’ sauce thickener. I found an excellent way to cook my okra, which Farmers Amirah and Will brought from the farm to my kitchen here at Stony Point Center. As you will see in my recipe below, cooking okra in the oven at a high temperature is quick, easy, crunchy and delicious. Whether okra is your favorite, not so much, or you have not tried it yet, pick some up at your local farmstand or produce market and try it. And of course, play around in your kitchen, have some fun and make it your own!

 

Roasted Farm Okra 

Yields 4 portions 

Ingredients 

2 cups okra (sliced thin, ends discarded) 

4 Tablespoons coconut oil 

1 Twig rosemary (cut into 2-inch pieces) 

½ small onion (sliced)  

2 cloves of fresh garlic(sliced) 

2 Tablespoons Parsley (chopped) 

Salt and pepper to taste 

Let’s Get Cooking

  1. Toss all ingredients together except for the garlic and parsley. Spread out your okra on a baking sheet in a thin layer. 
  2. Place in your preheated oven for approximately 5 minutes until slightly crunchy. 
  3. Very carefully, open your oven. Toss in your garlic and cook for another four to six minutes, until the veggies are nice and crisp  but not burnt. 
  4. Once cooked, taste for additional salt and pepper and toss in the parsley. Enjoy! 

   

NOTES: 

  1. Salt and pepper are personal. Add it to your satisfaction. What is salty to one is bland to another. The rule of thumb in the kitchen when it comes to seasoning your food while cooking “you can always add, but you can’t take away. “ The salt and pepper should enhance the flavors of your ingredients and not overpower them. 
  2. Fresh garlic is delish roasted, but if it burns, it will taste bitter. That being said, if it’s undercooked, it will also taste bitter. When roasting fresh garlic at high heat, add it towards the end so that it cooks but does not burn. If you are using granulated garlic, you can toss it in with your fresh veggies at the beginning. 

“It’s Your Dish!” 

  1. Substitutions/additions to make it your own 
  2. Substitute ½ teaspoon granulated garlic for each clove of fresh garlic. 
  3. Add other roasted veggies to your okra (but cook them separately as each veggie cooks at a different rate). 
  4. Try any hard herb for the rosemary such as fresh sage and fresh thyme or a combination. 
  5. Substitute any soft herb for the parsley, such as fresh tarragon, cilantro, chives, dill, or basil. 
  6. Add your roasted okra to quinoa, lentils, sauteed tofu, sauteed chicken or fish.