Monday, July 28, 2014

One Great . . . roasted okra

The story on okra doesn't start or stop with fried okra. There is a lot more you can do with the fuzzy pods, including roasting it.

Georgia cookbook author and chef Virginia Willis certainly dug deep into the okra oeuvre when she took on the assignment to come up with 50 recipes using okra for her book, "Okra," in the Savor the South cookbook series from UNC Press. (Disclosure alert: I have two books in the series, "Bourbon" and "Pecans," but I bow to Ms. Willis for sheer bravery in taking on "Okra.")

Her herb-roasted okra adds a bright flavor with a hint of lemon. Pick around in the bins of freshly picked okra and try to find the smaller pods, the ones about the size of the first two digits of your index finger. But longer pods are acceptable here, too.

Herb-Roasted Okra

From "Okra: A Savor the South Cookbook," by Virginia Willis.

1 pound okra, stem ends trimmed
Leaves from 4 mint sprigs (about 12 leaves)
4 large basil leaves, freshly torn
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
Grated zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

PREHEAT oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a nonstick silicone liner or nonstick foil.

PLACE the okra, mint, basil, onion, garlic and lemon zest in a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil. Season with the salt and pepper. Toss to coat well. Spread out on the prepared baking sheet and roast until tender, about 20 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately.

NOTE: If you want a bit of heat, you could add crushed red pepper flakes or a more exotic pepper, like Aleppo or smoked paprika.

YIELD: 4 to 6 servings. 

0 comments: