Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Okra in the House

Fresh Veggies about to Roast
It does not take more than 30 minutes of oven time and a few simple ingredients to turn a vegetable like Okra into a roasted feast.  I used the oven for two reasons: 1) I was already using it so why not take advantage of the heat, and 2) oven roasted okra has a totally different firm character in a finished lean dish.  My goal is to build a repertoir of plant based dishes for all seasons and occasions.  This is s great early Summer stew.  Next time, and that will be soon, I will change the herbs for a teaspoon of fresh chopped ginger and pinch of spice mix like Madras Curry.  File and other spices will give the same dish and entirely different flavor point, and a richness that offers me another dimension of taste, making the base recipe more versatile.  Also turning up the oven temp to 425 will increase the roasted flavor and should cut the cooking time in half.  Add and toss all the vegetables in one step at the beginning and remember to toss the vegetables once or twice in the oven so they do not scorch.  Enjoy!
Finished Oven Roasted Okra

Oven Roasted Okra with Tomato
2     cups fresh Okra, cut in half
1     cup tomatoes, cut into half or quarters depending on size
1/2  cup red onion, peeled, sliced thin
1     clove of garlic, peeled, sliced thin
1     teas  thyme, basil or cumin
1     tbl  fresh cilantro, chopped
1     teas of olive oil
salt and fresh ground black pepper

Set the oven to 325 degrees.  Place the cut okra in a 6,8 or 10 inch skillet.  ( I use cast iron as I like the distribution of heat.)  Drizzle with the olive oil and season.  Roast in the oven for 15 minutes .  Add the other ingredients except the cilantro.  Toss and return to the oven 15 minutes.

Taste.  Reseason and finish with the fresh cilantro.