This is my favorite time of year at the farmers’ market–well, my second favorite, after strawberry season. Three of my favorite produce items, okra, tomatoes, and corn, are all in abundance, and I love thinking up new ways to combine them.
This dish was a product of walking around the farmers’ market and picking out what looked and smelled good. I already had the tomatoes from Tony White, my friend and a tomato supplier in St. Louis, but I found okra, corn, onion, and basil the market. The basil smelled so good, the guy who sold it told me he wanted to buy some. Hopefully he gets it for free.
I guess in many ways, this dish is similar to succotash, a Southern recipe with tomatoes, okra, and corn. The only difference is, I left out bell peppers and beans. If you want a heartier dish and you have some extra bell peppers and beans, you could go all the way and make succotash. Or you could opt for this recipe, which is super easy and relies on fewer ingredients.
A lot of people shy away from cooking with okra because of its tendency to become slimy. You can avoid this by being very gentle with the okra. Minimal cutting and stirring is key. The more you stir or toss the okra in the pan, the more of a chance you’ll end up with a slimy mess.
This sauté is delicious on its own, but it’s also good as an accompaniment to another dish. I could see it working really well with a good piece of fish or chicken.
If you’re not a basil fan (and if this is true, who are you, really?), you could always sub in another herb. I bet thyme would also work really well in this dish.
Here’s a song to get you started on your okra, corn, and tomato sauté journey.
Okra, Corn, and Tomato Sauté
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 pound okra, ends trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 corn cobs, corn kernels cut off
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until it’s tender and almost translucent. Add the okra and corn, season generously with salt and pepper, and stir, trying not to stir too much because then the okra will get slimy.
Add the tomatoes and more salt and pepper to taste. Stir again, being careful not to disturb the okra. Cook for a few minutes more until the okra is slightly tender. Turn off the heat. Gently stir in the chopped basil. Serve warm over rice. Enjoy!