Okra You Will Enjoy
Marty Martindale

Okra, the darling of the south, is frequently reviled for its tendency to taste “slimy.” However, this gift fromokra
the south is versatile and can be grilled, fried, steamed, julienned, sliced or cooked whole. 

Our, non-southern, most slime-free, favorite way to prepare okra is to roast it. First, remove the top of each pod, then cut each down its center, lengthwise. Place the okra pieces plus some halved cherry tomatoes, sliced onion, several garlic cloves and some black olives on a small sheet pan. Drizzle all with good olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh herbs. Roast at 400-degrees for about 25 minutes until okra is tender.  Continue reading

Chef Virginia Willis Knows her Okra
Marty Martindale

“Passionate okra lovers crave this bright green, heat-loving vegetable whether fried, okraplaingrilled, steamed, roasted, broiled, boiled, pickled, raw, whole, sliced or julienned.” Willis asserts, as a food writer and chef, “I love okra, I enjoy it cooked in a myriad of ways and combinations. And, I love a challenge. I will cajole, entice and seduce doubters into becoming believers. I rejoice in converting people to the joys of cooking, eating and savoring okra. I’m an okra missionary.”

Willis knows okra so well, she’s written a Savor the South cookbook, titled simply OKRA sharing some 50 delicious recipes, both southern and worldwide, and just about everything else you would ever want to know about okra.

okrabookFor instance, okra is very unpopular with a whole lot of people, especially its tendency to give off an unwanted, slimy, colorless juice. However, Willis deals with this on page 14, in her section, Top Ten Slime-Busting Tips.

Okra originated near the equator in northeastern Africa. It later spread to the rest of Africa, the Mediterranean and India before entering the New World. It became especially associated with the south of the U.S. when slaves brought seeds with them to work there.

Okra is rich in vitamins K, C, A, B6, folate and fiber.

Choose small, slender pods for their tenderness. The larger ones can be tough and too fibrous. Make sure pods are firm, undamaged and bright in color, usually green, but okra can be available in red, burgundy, white or light green. Okra doesn’t store well for long periods and should be eaten shortly after purchase. Until using, store in refrigerator in paper bag. Continue reading