Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Okra, a World-Divider, by Melinda

The world is divided into people who love or who strongly dislike okra.  It's among our U-Pick choices, though, so it's probably worth giving it a try!--here are a few ideas for different methods of preparation.
(source of photo & recipe)
Peppery Grilled Okra with Lemon-Basil Dipping Sauce--serves 8

  • Cheesecloth or coffee filter
  • 1 qt plain, low fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper, divided
  • 2 lbs fresh okra, trimmed (click here for how to trim & prepare okra)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
Line a wire mesh strainer w/ 3 layers of cheesecloth or a largish coffee filter. Place strainer over bowl, dump yogurt into it, & cover & chill 24 hrs. Remove thick yogurt [save the liquid whey as a nice addition to soups & stews]. Preheat grill 400 to 450 [this could also be done on the grill pan in your oven or on a George-Foreman-type grill]. Combine yogurt, basil, lemon juice, garlic, & sugar with 1/2 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper. Cover & chill till ready to serve.

Toss together okra, olive oil, & remaining 1 tsp salt & 1 tsp pepper in a large bowl. Grill okra, covered w/ grill lid, at 400-450 for 2-3 min. on each side or until tender. (You can thread them on skewers that have been soaked in water, as in photo above, to make it easier to handle them.) Cool okra 5 min. Transfer to serving dish & serve w/ dipping sauce.  (source)

Shrimp and Okra Hush Puppies--Okra is really a southern dish, and like so many dishes, it's often batter-dipped & fried.

  • 1 cup self-rising yellow cornmeal mix
  • 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 cup medium-size raw shrimp, shelled & chopped
  • 1 tsp Creole seasoning
  • 1/2 cup diced onion, or combo of chopped onion & chopped sweet peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped okra
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup beer
  • canola oil
Mix cornmeal & flour in bowl till combined. Sprinkle shrimp w/ Creole seasoning. Add shrimp, onion, & okra to cornmeal mix. Stir in egg and beer just until moistened. Let stand 5 to 7 minutes. Pour oil to depth of 4 inches in a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot; heat to 350. Drop batter by level tbsps into hot oil & fry, in batches, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels; serve immediately (you can keep warm in 225 oven for up to 15 min, but no longer or they'll get mushy).  (source)

Okra and Sweet Corn Maque Choux--makes 8 servings

  • 1/4 lb spicy smoked sausage, diced (VEGANS--substitute Tofurky Italian Sausage)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups fresh corn kernels
  • 1 cup trimmed & sliced fresh okra
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • salt & pepper to taste
Saute sausage in large skillet over medium-high heat 3 minutes, until browned. Add onion, sweet pepper, & garlic, & saute 5 min, or till tender. Add corn, okra, & tomato; cook, stirring often, 10 min. Season to taste.
(Photo & recipe source)


  1. I became an okra fan last summer, when I stopped trying to "do" things to it, and just brushed it with olive oil and grilled it whole. Maybe a sprinkling of kosher salt. Mmmm! Almost asparagus-like with its creamy subtle flavor. I'll never cook it any other way again. If you haven't liked it yet, try grilling it - it's totally different from what you have come to expect from okra.

  2. Thanks for the advice Annie! Much appreciated.