This is the time of year when the garden yields baskets full of tomatoes, beans, peppers, peas and squash. And this year . . . . drumroll . . . OKRA!!
Okay, so there isn’t a lot – but it’s more fresh okra than I’ve seen in years because it’s an elusive vegetable up here in the Northern Rockies. I’m ecstatic that I got to have it for dinner tonight – I’ve only been craving it since last winter’s seed buying extravaganza. (Remember my excitement at finding a short season variety?) Turns out, it was an extra short season up here with all the gloomy rain in June, but it worked and I got my okra.
Was it everything I dreamed it would be? To that, I would give a hearty, “HECK, YES!”
Since it was the first small harvest, I made a medley that I love with sliced okra, red pepper and corn. It’s a simple dish – just heat oil in an iron skillet over medium heat. Add the okra and saute for a few minutes to soften, before adding the rest of the veggies and a few tablespoons of cornmeal. When you add the cornmeal like this, it just mingles with the veggies as opposed to coating them. After adding the cornmeal, season it with sea salt and a pinch of smoked paprika then continue sauteing until it’s lightly browned. I served it with sliced garden tomatoes and a couple of my favorite Serrano peppers. Warning: If you are the sort that likes your okra covered with breading and fried to a crisp, you might not like this. I love the flavor and texture of okra, and this dish lets that flavor shine through.
What’s your favorite way to eat okra?