I'm starting to regret the decision of giving myself just a week to study hardcore for the registered dietitian exam. There's wayy too much information to absorb (4 domains total...I can't seem to move beyond the foodservice and management portion), and I get so easily distracted. I guess that's what a month long vacation will do to ya. In any case, I need to FOCUS and press on because the exam is happening no matter what!
One of the major sources of distraction (the most positive one) is the fresh, locally-grown summer veggies from my CSA box.
In the midst of studying, I constantly found myself pondering different ways to use up the veggies. Okra was the biggest time sucker. I'd never cooked with it before, and it didn't help that the Hungryman kept insisting that I just fry it to avoid battling the slime. Eww..what? I don't do slim-y..but I don't fry either. Further investigation was needed.
The Huffington Post came to my rescue with their "How to cook okra that's not slimy" resource. Perfect title. Following its tips, I let the okra come to room temperature before handling. I trimmed the stem ends without cutting into the pods themselves (see picture on the left above), defuzzed them under water with a paper towel, patted them dry, and spread them out to air dry completely. I then coated them with ½ cup of vinegar and after 30 minutes, rinsed and patted them dry again. It was most certainly tedious, but I was determined to cook them perfectly..or as close to it as I possibly could.
My hands got super slippery from handling the okra, which led to some obsessive hand washing. I have very "sensitive" hands but the Hungryman will tell you that I have OCD 🙁 .
My friend, Kenan at Kitchen 1204, recently wrote a post about roasting okra as a bulletproof way to end up with a crisp, non-slimy product so I knew the service of my oven would be needed for the task before me.
As I wasn't sure how I would like the okra, I decided to combine it with some of my favorite ingredients - corn and tomatoes - after I came across this recipe by Cooking Light. Also, instead of just using regular jalapeño peppers, I incorporated some of the sweet peppers (pictured above) from my CSA box. Rather than making the salsa in a skillet like the recipe suggests, due to my intense fear of slime (don't laugh), I roasted the entire mixture.
The distinct okra flavor was undeniably pronounced but married well with the succulent tomatoes, light sweet corn and vibrant lime juice. The salsa carried a fair amount of heat from the jalapeños...just enough to warm your insides. And thanks to the roasting process, the dish also possessed an underlying warm earthiness.
I chose to serve it alongside some grilled shrimp, quinoa (a mixture of red and white as I'm still trying to get the Hungryman to open up to the red kind), and sliced avocado for that extra creaminess and healthy fat. It truly was a well-rounded meal indeed.
- Have you cooked with okra before? What's your favorite way to prepare it?
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup fresh yellow corn kernels 2 ears
- 1 pound okra cut into ½ in. pieces (3 ½ cups)
- ¼ cup chopped jalapeño peppers
- ¾ cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
- ½ teaspoon salt and pepper
- Prep okra: Let them come to room temperature before cooking. Trim the stem end (take care not to cut into the pod). Defuzz under running water using a paper towel. Pat them dry. Pour half a cup of vinegar to coat pods and let soak for 30 minutes in a bowl. Remove okra and rinse well. Dry completely. Cut into ½ in. pieces.
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until okra is lightly browned and tomatoes slightly caramelized.
- Serve immediately.
Sheila @ Life, Love, and Good Food says
MJ - this sounds fabulous! I have all the ingredients in my fridge, thanks to my father-in-law sharing some of his last okra crop, and plan to make this today for our football party food!
Hi Sheila! Ooh I can't wait for you to try this. I sure hope it's a hit at the football party 😉
Kenan | Kitchen 1204 says
Min, so glad I could help out!! I will definitely be trying this so soon! We've been getting beautiful okra and tomatoes in our CSA lately, so it's perfect! Did you know that some okra is purple? I just learned this summer--it's a "burgundy" variety. Who know?!
I actually like the idea to fry okra... Maybe it's kind of lazy, but the okra tempura I had in Japan was just too delicious!
Your recipe looks very interesting! Great idea to make okra into salsa. It sounds so nice with avocado and shrimp.
Have a great day and good luck with the exam! 🙂
I am a big fan of okra and am always looking for new ways to cook it. I really love the sound of it roasted with corn and tomatoes, it looks delicious! Wishing you lots of luck with your exam, I'm sure you'll do great:)
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says
I've never cooked okra and I didn't even know it was slimy! Thanks for educating me and equipping me to try it myself in future 🙂
Lots and lots of luck for your exam too, but I'm sure you'll find you know more than you give yourself credit for!
I didn't know that so many people have never cooked okra before. I def wouldn't have if it wasn't in my CSA box. Yes, it is def slimy. My hands were quite slippery after handling it.
Maura @ My Healthy 'Ohana says
You are so adventurous, I love your description of the whole process! I've never cooked or eaten okra before, but I will start looking for it 🙂 My daughter's preschool class dredged okra in cornmeal and fried it, and some of the kids actually really liked it!
Yup! Battered and fried okra is really really good according to Tim. But you know how I feel about frying haha. Cooking with okra was quite an interesting experience, I must say. It's a very unique fruit that's for sure. Can't wait for you to try it!
Consuelo | Honey & Figs says
I've never seen okra here, but you made it look very delish paired with hose roasted tomatoes (fave!) and not slimy at all! Also, best of luck with your exam. You'll do great, I' sure!!
ellie @ fit for the soul says
I've never cooked with it before, but I'd definitely put it in some spicy cajun food like gumbo or jambalaya!!
Sandra | Sandra's Easy Cooking says
Brain power food!! Looks amazing, Min and yummy pics too! Good luck on the exam! <3
Hello, Min! Do NOT stress too much about that (nasty) exam, because you are already totally prepared and you will pass and be done and it will be such a relief. Love your recipes! Don't know when I'll be in Houston, let me know if you go and I'll see if I can meet up, would love to see you again and try some new foods. Bought the jellyfish! Will make the salad this weekend for my mother, who is definitely up for it (she doesn't know that yet, though!).
Hi Anne!! Yes, you MUST let me know! I miss you so so much already :(. Did you make the salad for your mom? How did she like it? you? Did you let her know that it was jellyfish that she was eating or did you wait till she took a bite?
Alice // Hip Foodie Mom says
Min, love the huffingtonpost.com article!! This roasted okra corn tomato salsa looks amazing!! and I would be distracted too. . good luck your registered dietitian exam!!!
Thank you Min. I don't care for okra, but I'm sure this is good.
Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor says
Okra season is here! I have to admit, the one thing I don't miss about our CSA deliveries is the massive amount of okra we used to get this time of the year. I like it, but I was never very good at coming up with new and creative recipes for it. But if I had this salsa, I probably could eat it all summer!