Crispy okra + slightly spicy dip = MmmMmm
Two weeks into my stay in Hot Springs, I wanted to cook with ingredients that are local. Sadly, although the weather is nicer, it’s not harvest time. However, I still wanted to work with an ingredient that’s hard to find in New Hampshire but common here. The quick answer was okra. It did take a little shopping to find it, as it’s out of season, but persistence paid off. Armed with a couple pounds of okra, I was ready to begin testing.
Before this testing began, I had almost no cooking experience with okra. In fact, I had zero experience with okra being the main ingredient. Time to dive in!
The most common complaint I hear about okra is that it’s slimy. I agree that’s not a quality I want in a food I’m eating. So, my plan was to cook the okra in such a way that slime would not be an issue. My first thought was to roast the okra. Treat it like my green bean fries, and make it nice and crispy.
Because okra is a bigger piece of produce, I knew the time in oven would need to be longer. While it roasted, I contemplated the flavors I wanted in the dipping sauce. For green bean fries, I use ketchup just like regular fries. I had a feeling that the roasted okra wouldn’t feel much like regular fries due to their size and structure. An airy center with seeds doesn’t seem very fry-like to me.
Instead I decided to treat the okra like a hot crudité, which would need a creamy sauce. Trying to keep it healthy while also adding flavor I went for the aforementioned spicy dip- nothing alarming, just enough to give your taste buds a tingle.
My only piece of advice on this recipe is to roast the okra fully. While testing, I took the okra out of the oven when they were golden to brown. Although they looked nice, they still were fairly soft. Batch two stayed in the oven longer and became dark brown. Yes, they were slightly less attractive, but the crunch? Oh, it was out of this world. Definitely roast until they become crisp. The taste and mouthfeel are totally worth it.
- 12 oz. okra
- 1 Tb. olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp. hot sauce
- Preheat oven to 450.
- Rinse and pat dry okra.
- Place okra in a pile on baking sheet.
- Drizzle olive oil over okra, and toss to coat.
- Season okra with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Flip and bake for 15 more minutes.
- Check okra; you may need 5-10 minutes more for crunchiness.
- While okra is roasting, combine yogurt and hot sauce in a small bowl.
- Stir well.
- Add extra hot sauce, if desired.
- Enjoy crispy okra dipped in sauce!