I have only cooked okra one or two times in the past. I think it was the slime factor that got me (apparently I wasn’t stewing it long enough to dissolve the “goo”). But now, okra, a Southern staple, may find yet another home in my California kitchen. A few days ago at the market I was floored by a basket of deep green and burgundy pods. I came home and found a recent New York Times article with a simple approach to cooking okra – roasting. It turns out that roasting is another way to minimize the sliminess. I have adapted the recipe by adding some spice and acidity, and included a few other variations worth trying.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
3 cups okra (about 10 ounces), stemmed and halved lengthwise
½ large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp caraway seeds
1-2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tsp coarse salt
A few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
Juice from ½ lime
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the okra in a bowl with the sliced onions, minced garlic, caraway, olive oil, salt, and pepper until well combined. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until okra and onions are tender and the edges begin to brown, about 10 to 12 minutes (took closer to 12 minutes in my oven). Remove from the oven and drizzle with lime juice and serve.
Experiment with different seeds. I can see cumin, fennel, or crushed coriander seeds each working really well in place of the caraway.
Also, try other acids instead of lime juice. Consider using lemon juice or a few drops of red wine vinegar at the end, or even roast the okra and onions with larger chunks of seeded tomato (a classic companion of okra). Acids help to cut the okra “goo” and, in general, they also brighten or enhance flavors, reducing the need for additional salt.