Spice Up Your Okra Recipes!

Okra season is still in full swing in North Carolina, and this unique veggie has been bountiful both at the farmer’s market and in my CSA box. I have been receiving on average 1 pound of okra each week! Personally, I love using my creole okra recipe, but eating one pound of that each week becomes pretty mundane. Luckily, a few of the CSA members at Hilltop Farms sent a few new okra recipes my way, which I will share with you all! They look quite tasty, so give them a try and tell me what you think!

Spicy Pickled Okra

2.5 cups white vinegar

2 cups water

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon peppercorns

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon dill seeds (or use fresh dill, and add it when you add the okra)

2 – 6 green or red jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise, *not* seeded or deveined

1 – 1.5 lbs okra

Combine vinegar and the next 4 ingredients (salt through dill seeds) in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until salt dissolves, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in jalapeños and okra. Cool completely; pour mixture into an airtight container.  I usually end up using 3 pint canning jars for one recipe. Make sure each jar gets an equal portion of jalapenos and the spices.  Cover and chill, can eat immediately. 

 Note: Refrigerate okra in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Pan-Seared Okra

Okra (do NOT slice it!)

Minced or chopped garlic ( a couple of cloves / lb of okra is what I use, adjust to taste)

1 small yellow or white onion, or shallot, minced

Olive oil (or peanut oil, or canola oil)

Dried herbs (Italian mix or Herbes de Provence are good for mediterranean flavors, or individual herbs that you like, or mix of Asian-flavors herbs, or Mexican-flavor herbs)

Black pepper

Dried chile pepper flakes

Coarse salt

Lemon juice (or vinegar if you prefer

1.  Rinse okra.  Leave the pods whole, but trim off the stem just above where the cap joins the pod (this cuts down on slime).  Do NOT trim off the tips — or, you will have a lot of slime.  Do this as close to cooking time as possible — the longer they sit with a cut, the more slime you get.  For Farmer Fred’s okra, even the large pods are fine whole.  No guarantees with other farmers’ okra — stick with small pods if you aren’t cooking Fred’s okra!

2.  Get your skillet or wok hot, as for a stir fry, over a high heat.  Add oil as you would for a stir-fry. 

3.  Throw the okra in the hot pan.  Keep the heat up. Do not mess with the okra — let it cook and start to brown.  If you stir it it will not brown properly.  When it starts to brown, shake or stir the pan and let it brown some more.  The pods will get a really beautiful bright green.  Add a little oil if it needs it.

4.  When most of the pods are browned in a couple of spots, add the onion and turn the heat to medium, stir, add the dried herbs, pepper, chile flakes, stir.  You may want to add a bit of water if it starts to stick or burn.  Add the garlic.  Add salt.

5.  Cook at medium or medium-low heat until the okra is as done as you like it.  Try not to stir it too often- the longer it cooks the more likely some pods will break and give you some slime, and of course the green will darken with more cooking too.  Just before serving, squeeze lemon over the okra (or drizzle with vinegar), taste and correct with salt and pepper as needed. 





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