Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Spicy Roasted Okra
Let's talk okra. Have you ever tried okra? I grew up just north of Boston, so needless to say we were not a big okra-eating family. Actually, we weren't an okra-eating family at all. I'm not sure I'd ever even seen okra before I moved to DC, never mind tried it. I mean, the stuff looks like it's covered in dog slobber. Not exactly on my top 10 "must try" list.
Strangely enough, the grocery store by my apartment in Chicago almost always has okra. (Except the first time I'd worked up the nerve to try it. Obviously, that day they had no okra whatsoever.) In my store, it's up on the shelf with the Brussels sprouts. And that is another food - Brussels sprouts - that I never thought I liked until I found out they're actually my favorite thing in the world when sauteed in bacon fat and mixed with Israeli couscous. So if I could give Brussels sprouts a shot, why not okra?
My first instinct was that the dog slobber oozing out of the okra needs to be dried up. Please. And that means we are not making okra in a pan. We are not sauteing it down to a puddle of dog slobber. I'm not quite ready for that, even if I was using bacon fat. When I found this recipe for roasting the okra, I figured this was the best way to go.
By the way, as long as we're talking bacon fat, I have a confession to make. For Easter, I made a quiche (which obviously included bacon) and ever since I've been saving leftover bacon fat in my fridge. I only use it for things like quick brussels sprouts on a weeknight. But yeah, there's that. Don't judge me. Especially if you're my sweet Kosher-keeping Bubby.
Right, so okra. Okra rocks. Or at least this okra recipe does. I'm not quite ready to venture out and try any others yet, but I'm pretty stoked about what we had going on here. I'm always looking for a new vegetable to change up our routine (which, come summer, is asparagus, asparagus, asparagus....and our roommate hates asparagus) so this is a really nice change of pace. Plus it's seriously easy. You don't even have to trim the tops off if you don't want to! And the chili-infused olive oil the Monkey Scientist's mom gave us has some serious kick to it, so you know he was loving this recipe, too. (But if you're a weirdo and don't like spicy foods, you could use olive oil instead and I think you'll be just fine!) I'm excited. It's going into the rotation.
Oh, P.S. those glorious little nuggets on the plate that look like tater tots are actually roasted gnocchi. In this case, Cajun roasted gnocchi. My old co-worker's sister gave me this recipe months ago and it is one of my favorite things ever. I really need to share it with you one of these days!
Spicy Roasted Okra
1 lb okra
1/4 c chili-infused olive oil (we bought it, but you can make your own)
1/2 tsp ground sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Wash the okra and slice in half vertically. I cut the tops off first, but this is optional.
3. Put the okra in a large bowl with the chili-infused olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat.
4. Place the okra in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the okra is browned and crispy. Serve immediately.