Not a fan of okra? These okra caprese skewers may just change your mind.
Okra Caprese Skewers
- 12 okra pods
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 24 grape tomatoes
- Fresh mozzarella ciliegine size preferred*
- Basil leaves
Preheat oven to 425° F.
Remove stem end of okra, and slice in half lengthwise.
Brush both sides of the okra with olive oil.
Place okra, cut side down, on baking sheet.
Roast for 8 minutes.
Remove from oven, and flip so the okra is cut side up.
Roast for an additional 6 minutes.
Remove from oven, and coat okra with balsamic vinegar.
Roast for 2 more minutes.
Thread a grape tomato onto a cocktail toothpick.
Add an okra half, being sure to thread it near the end of the okra.
Thread a mozzarella onto the toothpick, followed by a piece of basil leaf.
Fold the okra so that you can thread the other end onto the toothpick.
Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Serve with extra balsamic vinegar, if desired.
Until my first visit to Arkansas in 2019, I had never cooked with okra. Like many people from New England, I knew of the ingredient but had never bought it nor even thought about it. Sure, I’d eaten it in gumbo and as a fried appetizer but working with it was not on my shortlist of future recipes.
Enter a stay in Hot Springs, where I saw it on many menus. Determined to use this vegetable as part of a dinner menu, I made Roasted Okra. This simple recipe turns that fuzzy outside, slimy inside piece of produce into a crispy, crunchy treat that is fun to eat with dip.
This year, being in Hot Springs for so much longer, I’ve had more time to study the local produce. With the arrival of summer and a reduction in stay home orders, I have gone to the local farmers market and found a bounty of okra. It was time to play with this vegetable again.
When I first started brainstorming this recipe, in all honesty, I actually was focusing on the local tomatoes. However, as I thought about what to pair with the tomatoes, it occurred to me that I should work with okra as well. It’s summer in Arkansas- use the produce they have.
Of course, summer in Arkansas is hot, so I wanted a snack that would be a pleasure to eat on a steamy afternoon or evening. That’s where these okra caprese skewers came to mind. Finger food that’s best enjoyed at room temperature or chilled basically screams, “Hello, summer snack!”
Plus, the beauty of this recipe is its simplicity. With fresh okra, tomatoes, and basil, you already have a ton of flavor. Add some good quality fresh mozzarella and a little bit of balsamic vinegar to round out the caprese flavors, and you have a snack that delivers far more flavor than it would indicate.
If you’re like I used to be and have never cooked with okra before now, this is the recipe to try. Simple and delicious, it’s a delightful August appetizer.