There were lovely piles of fresh okra at the farmer's market last Saturday. I couldn't buy any because I still had a half pound languishing at home from the week before, but it did strengthen my resolve to cook it instead of feeding it all to the chickens. I found a recipe for okra in the section of my Greek cookbook entitled, "lathera". (I can't figure out how to type in Greek, sorry!) Lathi is the word for oil, so I wonder if what appears to be a vegetable section is actually labeled "oily things". (This recipe is very similar to a Lebanese green bean recipe that I love and have been meaning to post all year. Soon.)
I know a lot of people are a little wary of okra, but if you don't absolutely hate it, you should try this. I can't understand why this was so good, all I can do is be honest and confess that I ate it all myself. All. Myself. No one else had the opportunity to confirm that the goodness wasn't all in my head. Crunchy, soft, rich, sweet, and savory. I want more. This could be a side or the meal.
The best part is, the amounts are estimates and the directions only amount to a glorified version of "cook it until it's done." This is EASY. It's from the Greek Cookery book I mentioned in my post about Greek salad.
1 pound of okra
2 medium onions, diced
3 ripe tomatoes, diced and peeled too if you care
1/2 cup olive oil
3 Tablespoons of vinegar
In a small bowl, combine 1 Tablespoon of salt and 3 Tablespoons of vinegar. I used red wine vinegar. Clean the okra, cut off the stem end, and dip it into the vinegar. Put the okra, onion, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and olive oil into a pot or large frying pan. Add 1-2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Once it comes to the boil, turn down the flame and simmer it until the vegetables are done but the okra is not mushy. Taste it for salt and pepper and season it accordingly.
Okra has a mucilaginous texture that few love at first bite. Apparently it helps with digestive issues, encourages the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, is loaded with antioxidants, loaded with vitamins, and rich in fiber. If you'd like to read more about it, you can look at a couple sites I found when I googled the health benefits of okra here and here.
But really, who cares? You can eat it with bacon and that's all you need to know. If you are afraid to try okra, just rest confident in the fact that bacon is the painless path to a love of okra. It worked on my four year old daughter- one day she was eating the bacon off the okra, the next day she was shoving raw okra pods in her mouth.
My friend Noriko first made this for me, and I wish I had taken pictures that day, because her skewers were much prettier than mine. Thanks, Noriko!!
Okra that is not too long or it might be a little too fibrous
bacon cut into pieces about 3 inches long
Line a baking sheet with foil because this is a little messy. Wrap each pod in bacon and secure with one or two wooden skewers. Place the baking sheet about 5 inches under the broiler and flip it after the bacon looks done to you. Keep a very close eye on these since they go from perfect to burnt in one minute.
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!