IF YOU THINK YOU DON’T LIKE OKRA, JUST TRY THIS RECIPE.
I do three vegetables in this way, with slight variations: summer squash, and green beans (my Greek-Style Green Beans were featured on The Splendid Table, and were one of the show’s three most popular recipes of that year). P.S. The reason they are Greek-style rather than Greek, is that traditional method uses much, much more olive oil, and that changes the way the vegetables cook; you don’t get the luscious caramelization that makes this method the sine qua non for these three vegetables.
If you are, like I used to be, an always-cook-only-to-tender-crisp person, this may open your eyes to a whole new approach to vegetables… taking some of them to slow, melting softness brings out a whole different kind of goodness, rapturously sensual.
Would you like to learn everything there is to know about okra, including why so many people are prejudiced against it and how to make it absolutely “slime-free” without frying it? Then click here for my definitive guide…
1 tablespoon chopped, but not crushed, fresh garlic
1 to 2 tablespoons mild extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds 2-to-3 inch long okra pods, washed well but left whole, stem and all
1 large, juicy deep-ripe summer tomato, such as a Cherokee purple or Arkansas Traveler, cored and chopped
salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
a few dashes cayenne (or a fresh chile; see variation)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried dill (or 2 teaspoons fresh dill weed, stripped from the stem)
- 1. Spray a heavy 10 to 14-inch skillet, cast-iron or otherwise, one that has a tight-fitting lid, with spray oil. Place over very low heat… as low as you can get it without the flame going out.Add, in this order, the garlic, oil, okra, and diced tomato. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Do not stir.
- Cover, and cook for 35 to 45 minutes more, still over lowest possible heat.
Do not stir, but take a peek once in awhile, making sure the heat is very, very low. If you like, you can carefully push a few of the pods back to make sure the garlic is not burning but merely cooking, very, very slowly.
3. Uncover. Stir cautiously, just a few times. The okra should be quite tender and soft, the formerly bright green pods now a muted olive green, marked with golden brown caramelization here and there.
If they have not reached this point, recover the pan and let them cook for another 10 or 15 minutes more, still on the lowest possible heat. While stirring, remember you want to break it up as little as possible, rather, just recombine the ingredients, though it is likely that a few pods will split, if they have not already done so.
4. Turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with cayenne and dill, stir one more time, and serve. Serve the pods whole. Eaters can either cut the stem end off with a knife and fork, or pick them up by the stem, and nibble their way down… some even eat the stem-end (it’s firmer and more fibrous than the tender pod, but still edible and tasty).Variation: If you wish to use fresh chile instead of cayenne, decide first how hot you want the finished dish. For mild heat, de-seed the chile; for hot, leave the seeds in. In either case, dice the chile very finely, and sprinkle it in with garlic, in step 1. Omit the cayenne, of course, in the final step. If you wish to use fresh dill, add it in step three, before you stir, and omit the dried dill in the final step.
This recipe originally appeared in Passionate Vegetarian.