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.