I know plenty of people don’t like okra.
I think it’s the texture that tends to turn people off. When cooked for a long time, okra turns mushy and oozes a mucous-like substance. It’s gooey in the worst possible way.
That’s why okra is used in gumbo, because it acts as a thickener.
But quickly-cooked okra is like another vegetable altogether. It’s not gooey in the slightest.
So if you think you don’t like okra, I would urge you to give it another try.
Look for small, firm pods, no bigger than your thumb. Pass over any that feel soft and bendy. Season simply. Cook quickly.
It’s a stretch to call this a recipe, but when my sister asked how I prepare okra, I knew I needed to share the answer here. After all, I started this blog to share recipes with my friends and family.
I cook my okra over relatively high heat for just a few minutes, until the pods begin to blister and brown. Seasoned simply, they’re a great side dish. Or combine them with other late-summer vegetables and serve over buttery grits, for a Southern spin on the rice bowl.
The key here is to avoid overcooking the okra. Also, make sure to use the smallest, firmest, okra pods you can find.
Old Bay Seasoning is a spice blend used primarily on seafood, but it's great on okra (it's also, in my opinion, the secret to a perfect Bloody Mary). If you can't find Old Bay, you can make your own.
- 2 cups small okra pods
- 2 tsp vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 to 3/4 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
- pinch salt (optional, the Old Bay already has some)
Prepare the okra by slicing off the stem end and cutting any large pods into smaller pieces, no more than about 2 inches long.
Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add the oil. (If using olive oil, watch that you do not let it smoke.)
Add the okra and shake the pan a bit to coat the pods with the oil. Sprinkle with the Old Bay Seasoning and optional salt, if using.
Cook the okra, shaking the pan occasionally, until the pods begin to brown and blister, just a few minutes. They should soften slightly but remain somewhat firm to the bite. In other words, they should no longer be completely crisp but if you can cut them with a fork, you've gone too far.