Okra and I go waaaaay back … G-ma and G-pa used to grow it by the bushel in their garden at Crooked Creek – their beloved homestead in Red Level, Alabama (where “the ground’s red and the people are level-headed” – it’s the kind of place where road signage stating “Congested Area” finds two hounds lying contentedly in the intersection – and I am not joking – we have the pictures to prove it!).
So, when a lovely bunch of okra appeared in our weekly CSA share (thanks JR Organics!) I set about hunting for a recipe. I have delighted in G-ma’s traditional, Southern-fried okra (dredged in corn meal and fried in a classic cast-iron pan) for years – it will ALWAYS be a favorite of mine – but I was determined to experiment.
Roasted veggies never, ever seem to disappoint (and are E-A-S-Y!), so I happily settled on this recipe from FatFree Vegan. I modified it a bit – because while we all like the sound of “fat-free” anything, I was more liberal with the olive oil. She recommends spraying your cooking pan with olive oil, but I threw my little goodies in my happy, butter-yellow mixing bowl and tossed them about with some olive oil and my homemade Garam Masala mix (easy to do and tons of recipes on the web – click link for just one example). I went easy on the Garam Masala – as much as I enjoy it, I didn’t want the okra to simply become a vehicle for delicious Indian spices – I wanted the veg to get a chance to shine too. And boy did it!
We thoroughly enjoyed this treat. I served them up as an appie and we basically ate them all before I got to officially put them on the table. I gave Kev one as a “taster”, and that was it – we stood there and greedily consumed them, one right after the other – all the while muttering through our too-full mouths, “Mmmm! These are good!”. AND – finger food – what’s not to like?
An added bonus – Susan (of FatFree Vegan) aptly notes – is that you don’t have to “come in contact with the dreaded slime” since no cutting is involved. My brother readily comes to mind, as he used to take great delight in his repeated attempts to ruin my okra appetite via his “saliva” comments. Thanks for the memories bro! :0)
Due to the ridiculously sweltering summer days of late, I popped our fellas in the toaster oven. Yay for toaster ovens! It not only made quick work of roasting, but saved us from dealing with the unwelcome gift of additional heat our oven so readily proffers. My aging toaster oven requires I keep a close eye on whatever I feed into her gaping maw, but that seems an easy price to pay when the alternative is waking my oven from her summer slumber.
If you too have been gifted with some okra, and have a creative recipe to share, please do!