|Okra. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books|
It doesn't seem like summer in the South until a friend gives you a bag full of fuzzy, prickly okra pods. Like squash and zucchini, okra comes into season and home gardeners go from craving the funky vegetable to wondering what on earth they're going to do with it all. And that's where I come in, because I never turn down homegrown produce, especially okra. Stewed gumbo style with bacon and tomatoes and served over rice, it's classic mid-summer comfort food. It also takes well to roasting, a method that's perfect for a handful or a pound of pods, whatever you can get your hands on.
I first picked up the method for cooking okra from Southern cooking legend Nathalie Dupree, formerly of Atlanta, now living and writing in Charleston, South Carolina. Nathalie slices the pods, coats them with olive oil and roasts them in a hot oven. The result, depending on how thick you slice it, is a crispy okra chunk or chip that's a perfect summer side dish.
|Roasted okra chips. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books|
1 pound okra pods
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt, preferably fine-grained "popcorn salt"
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice okra in chunks or more thinly for a chip, place in a bowl. Pour a tablespoon or two of olive oil over the okra, toss and season lightly with salt. Spread on baking sheet and roast for up to 10 minutes, checking often to make sure they don't burn. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, season carefully - it's so easy to over-salt these! - and serve.
This post is part of #LetsLunch, a monthly Twitter party on a given food subject. This month's theme is vegetables to celebrate Washington Post Food and Travel Editor Joe Yonan's newest cookbook, "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook" (Ten Speed Press, $24.99).
Annabelle‘s Farmer’s Market Gazpacho at Glass of Fancy
Cheryl's Egg-Drop Broccoli in Ginger-Miso Gravy at Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
Eleanor‘s Green Beans Two Ways at Wok Star
Grace‘s Vegetable Tempura at HapaMama
Jill‘s Fusilli with Corn Sauce at Eating My Words
Joe‘s Guaca-Chi at Joe Yonan
Linda‘s Chocolate-Zucchini Twinkies at Free Range Cookies
Linda‘s Gateway Brussels Sprouts at Spicebox Travels
Lisa‘s Totally “Free” Veggie Soup at Monday Morning Cooking Club
Pat‘s Umami-Laden Green Beans at The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook
Vivian‘s Kangkong (Water Spinach) with Fermented Beancurd, Chili and Garlic at Vivian Pei
Text and images copyright 2013, Lucy Mercer.