Okra is one of my favorite vegetables to cook with in the fall. I love the way it looks like little stars when you cut it and I love how it tastes.
It sounds kind of weird but okra *tastes* like fall. I’m not saying it tastes like dried leaves or campfire smoke (two things I associate with this season). It just tastes fresh, hearty, and earthy. It has the substance of a mushroom but the crunchiness and zest of a pepper. If you’ve never cooked with it before, I’d highly recommend it.
HOWEVER, you do have to follow a couple rules if/when you cook okra. Despite it’s hearty exterior, okra is really a fragile being. When you’re cooking it, try not to stir it too much. Otherwise it will start oozing goo (for lack of a better description) and get slimy.
A good thing to do while cooking okra is read a book or listen to music. It really doesn’t require that much attention, so you’re better off distracting yourself during the cooking process until it’s ready to eat.
I’ve made okra a bunch of different ways including Indian style, but this is the simplest, best recipe I’ve come up with. It requires few ingredients and takes the least amount of time to cook.
Make sure you buy two good looking tomatoes for this recipe. It will make a HUGE difference. I know we’re at the end of tomato season in most parts of the country, but if you can find two big red ones, spring for them no matter how much they cost.
Here’s a song I’ve been listening to this week. I’ve loved Ennio Morricone since I took a film score class in college. His music is perfect for walking down the street with headphones in and watching the leaves change colors. Or, you know, whenever.
1/2 pound okra, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 large red tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 medium shallot, minced
2 tsp minced ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
pinch of nutmeg
flaky sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the shallot and sauté for a few minutes until it’s golden brown and translucent. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for a few more minutes until fragrant.
Add the tomatoes, nutmeg, and healthy pinches of salt and pepper. Stir everything together and then bring the mixture to a boil. Add the okra slices and stir once, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Cover the skillet and let the mixture cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring once, until the okra is soft and cooked. Serve with brown rice (or whatever you prefer). Enjoy!