Before I got married I definitely did not like okra. My experience was with okra that had been fried and had sat too long, and tasted like greasy mush. Not very appetizing. But my husband, he loves okra. Rumor has it when he was a kid he requested a fried okra cake for his birthday. He got it too. I wish I could see the picture of his big bowl of okra with candles pushed in for him to blow out. I am sure it was a magical experience. Since we got married I have had good fried okra when it is fresh out of the pan and super crispy. So, I like it now. But, for the two of us at home I hate frying stuff. The main reason is not even because it isn’t healthy, but because it makes a big mess. I have to clean so much anyway, why would I do that to myself?
My new mission was to find ways of preparing okra that didn’t require frying. I found that roasting it in the oven produced very tasty, slightly crispy, nuggets of okra gold and I have been doing that since last summer. But roasting takes a long time and I wanted something a little quicker.
Enter the saute.
Start off with some fresh garlic. I used 2 cloves for my one serving of okra for lunch. My husband definitely smelled me later that evening. If you are like me and don’t mind garlic coming out of your pours up to 8 hours later then use two cloves. If you prefer your garlic fragrance to be slightly less pungent, then use about a half of one clove for one serving.
Slice about 10-12 okra pods fairly thin on the diagonal. Heat up a pan with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Once the pan is nice and hot add the okra and garlic with salt, pepper, and a few dashes of red pepper flakes if you like it spicy. Cook for about ten minutes until it is well browned.
This recipe will yield one big bowl of sauteed garlic and okra. I know a lot of people don’t like okra because of the slime, but sautéing it takes away the slime. You are left with okra that is a little crispy around the edges, soft in the middle, and really quite wonderful to bite into. I thoroughly enjoyed it for lunch the other day and I can’t wait to make it with dinner for my husband to try tonight.
I was at Ingles the other day and found brown rice flour tortillas in the freezer section with the Ezekial bread. It was an exciting discovery. So, to go with my okra I made a quesadilla with extra sharp cheddar cheese, quartered cherry tomatoes, and a sprinkling of fresh thai basil from the garden. It was ridiculously delicious.