This time of year I love taking advantage of the wide variety of fresh, locally grown produce available. Locally grown produce is fresher, so it often tastes better, and these purchases support our local economy. I enjoy getting to know farmers at the local markets, and they’re usually ready to answer any questions I have regarding their farming practices, the freshness of the product and ways to prepare it.
One of my favorite vegetables to enjoy this time of year is okra, but most people only enjoy it fried. I love stewed okra and tomatoes, and I don’t mind the sliminess, but cooking the okra quickly over high heat reduces the slime. One easy option is to roast the whole okra pods at 425 degrees until crisp-tender and slightly charred. My favorite method, though, is to sauté the okra in a cast-iron pan.
Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and jalapeño (if using), and sauté 3 minutes or until onion is tender. Add garlic, and sauté 30 seconds longer.
Add tomatoes, and cook 3 minutes or until tomatoes begin to break down.
Add okra, and cover. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until okra is crisp-tender. Season with salt and pepper.
So what do you think? Are you an okra fan or no???