Pop—Crack—Splat. The sounds coming form the stove as I sit and wait at the breakfast table instantly make my 5-year-old tummy rumble. I ask repeatedly if it’s done yet and get the glare I’m all too aware of. My nanny, RoRo, was famous for her fried okra and made it for me whenever I asked. I asked often as next to blueberry muffins, I considered fried okra to be a perfectly acceptable food group. Sadly today, aware of calories and clogged arteries, I veer away from sinfully delicious fried okra but it wasn’t until recently that I found a close substitute, Roasted Okra with Garlic Butter.
Now, I’ve waxed poetic about this subject before as I’ll eat okra every which way including raw. Grilled Okra is an absolute favorite mine and comes pretty close to my love for fried but it’s hitting 100°F temperatures and I’m not feeling the grill at the moment. I’ve attempted roasting in the oven but the outcomes were always soggy. So, the other day, armed with a pound of okra, I glared at the grill outside already feeling the heat and choose to give the oven another try. This time I tweaked the temperature and reduced the cooking time. The result was slightly charred okra that still were delicately crisp. Then I poured garlic butter, a big pinch of sea salt, and some Original Red Tabasco over the okra and proceeded to eat the entire pound in one sitting — so much for the calories (but at least it’s still a tad bit healthier than fried).
Tender yet firm roasted okra bathed in a tempting garlic butter and kissed with flakes of sea salt, is a tempting summer side dish that’s hard to put down — to say the least.
Tender yet firm roasted okra bathed in a tempting garlic butter and kissed with flakes of sea salt, is a tempting summer side dish that's hard to put down
- 1 pound okra, trimmed of their ends
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Flaked sea salt such as Maldon
- 1 teaspoon of Tabasco or lemon juice, if desired
- Preheat oven to 475°F.
- In a large bowl, toss to combine okra and oil. Spread out evenly on a baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, flipping the okra every 5 minutes, until the okra begins to brown yet is still firm.
- While the okra is cooking, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for a few minutes until you can just begin to smell the garlic. Remove from heat.
- Once the okra is finished, transfer to a large bowl and add garlic butter, two pinches of salt, and Tabasco or lemon, if using, to bring the dish a little acidity. Toss to coat, taste, and add any additional salt if needed.
by Meredith Steele