If you’re a good southerner, fried okra has probably been a part of your life. You may have had okra in gumbo, pickled, or even stewed in tomatoes. But have you tried a roasted or grilled okra recipe?
I am most certainly a fan of most any roasted vegetable, it’s just so much more ….
And okra has become another one of them. They aren’t slimy, as the roasting or grilling dries out the inside goo. And boy howdy, my bottom appreciates them cooked this way much more so that deep frying in hot oil!
We have okra plants as tall as small trees in our garden right now.
We’ve planted two kinds this year. We planted a new red variety called Jing Orange from Baker Creek, (one of my most beloved seed orders every year). This one is rocking every day and out-producing our other variety by far.
The second variety we plant every year is Clemson Spineless.
Between the two, we’re getting loads of okra in these fiery days of summer here in Oklahoma.
I’ve become partial to the Jing Orange okra….for one thing the stems are a lovely burgundy red in color. And we get almost twice as much as we do the Clemson Spineless. For another, the okra is tender and wonderful, even when you forget to pick it for three days and it’s a foot long.
Yes I’ve done that a few times and they make fantastic pretend light sabers!
Here are a few fun facts about okra….
- Okra probably originated in West Africa, Ethiopia or South Asia and was cultivated by the Egyptians.
- During the Civil War, the seeds were roasted and used to brew as coffee and this is still done today in some places.
- Mature okra has been used to make rope and paper
- It is used as a thickener due to the slimy-clear, gooey stuff that exudes from the insides
- Okra is a good source of vitamin C and A, also B complex vitamins, iron and calcium. It is low in calories, a good source of dietary fiber, and is fat-free.
- It can grow over 7-8 feet tall
- It is related to the hibiscus plant and its creamy white flowers with burgundy centers look a lot like them!
Roasting okra is simple. you can roast it whole or cut it up. Simply toss it in a bowl with some olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and put in a hot oven or skewer and put on a piping hot grill. We throw ours in a grill basket and toss them around until we see char marks on them then spill them onto a platter and eat them right away!
- A few seasonings we like to use on okra (salt and pepper is a must with all of these):
- Coriander and cumin and smoked paprika
- Garlic powder and thyme, user fresh thyme after they come off the grill or you can use ground when you salt and pepper before roasting
- Roast them with whole shishito peppers…the flavors will meld onto the okra…YUM
I’m interested in an Indian recipe I”m finding everywhere to stuff them! I think I’ll be experimenting with that soon because we have these things coming out of our ears!
- 1 pound fresh okra about 24-28 whole pieces
- 2 T. olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450º or grill to hot
- Trim stem end of each okra off. Make sure okra is completely dry.
- In a large bowl toss with olive oil, salt and pepper
- Place on lined baking sheet and roast 15-20 minutes until browned in places. On grill, turn after 5 minutes ore so every 5 minutes until brown grilling char spots appear, 15 minutes
- Optional seasoning choices (sprinkle over when done)
- chopped fresh thyme and garlic powder
- Coriander and cumin
- Add shishito peppers when roasting or grilling