Okay, I LOVE okra. I got a pound of it at my farmer’ market ten days ago, and another pound this past weekend.
This stuff is FRESH! It will last a lot better and longer than the okra I see at my supermarket, which at least here, is already shot and inedible.
Soaking it in vinegar and salt, and then rinsing vigorously, is supposed to make okra less “slimy”. I’m fine with okra in any form, but I decided to try the soaking method for this recipe, to help my readers out.
If you are interested, I also have a recent vegetarian okra recipe done Indian style.
Prep time: 1 hour to soak, 20 minutes for other preps.
Cook time: 45 minutes.
Rest time: Not needed.
Serves: 2-3 main, 4 to 6 as sides.
OKRA, MEDITERRANEAN STYLE
* 1 pound fresh okra (See below for prep…)
* approximately 1/4 cup red wine vinegar.
* about a couple teaspoons of salt.
* 1 large leek, sliced in 1/4 inch slivers, with an eye to remove any grit, or hard dried out outer leaves.
* about 1/8th of a mid-sized white or yellow onion, sliced into 1/4 inch slivers, then halved.
* 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil.
* 1 (12 ounces) jar of Trader Joe’s Bruschetta… see below for adaptations…
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence.
* 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper. White or otherwise.
* up to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional).
* handful of pitted olives, sliced in half if large (optional).
* the juice of 1 lemon, seeds extracted first.
* a few sprigs of cilantro, chopped (optional).
The Okra: Cut off and discard the stems. (Remove tips if they look brown.) Cut the larger okra into half. Soak the okra in the salt and vinegar for about an hour. During that time, a couple of times, move the okra around in that bowl so as much can be absorbed as possible. This is the stage that should draw out a lot of the slime that many object to. At the end of the hour, rinse the okra vigorously in a colander, under cold water. Again and again. Yes, it will still feel slimy to the touch. After cooking, a lot of this goes away, but I cannot promise 100% to you. (I still love the stuff…)
Okay, now saute the leek and onion in the olive oil, wait until the oil begins to simmer slightly before adding the leek and onion. Mix this around until the onions and leek begin to go translucent, and maybe a few of them are slightly carmelized. About 10-15 minutes.
Add the okra, the bruscetta, and the rest of the spices…
Simmer on the cook top for about 40-45 minutes under low-moderate heat, covered loosely to allow a little steam to escape.
If you want to be a bit more Greek, add a small handful of pitted olives now.
Add the lemon juice. Simmer another five minutes.
Optionally, add a few sprigs of cilantro as you are about to serve.
SUBSTITUTING FOR THE TJ BRUSCETTA:
- Plan on a glass jar of 12-14 ounces chunky tomato sauce. I make certain the tomato sauce has no added sugar, and the reason I don’t go with commercially metal canned, is that I don’t like the “tinny” taste of that.
- Add in 2-3 cloves of well-minced garlic with the onion and leek step, towards the end of that step – garlic only needs about three minutes to saute here.
- Add in a handful of fresh basil, chopped, at the point when you add in the lemon juice. If you don’t have fresh, about a half teaspoon or so of dried will do.
Yet another Link party at Fiesta Friday!…