Sunday, August 08, 2010

CSA week 8.5: Okra

Oh, my. It's fuzzy.

That was my reaction when I stuck my hand in the bag I'd brought home from the farmers' market. What had possessed me, to buy a bag of damp, soft, furry vegetables? I grew up in Ohio, for cryin' out loud; what do I know about okra?

But this recipe for Indian-spiced okra was calling. Specifically, it was saying, "Your mother is coming tomorrow for a week-long stay, and she doesn't want to eat okra, although she might fib and say she doesn't mind."

I made two changes to the recipe. I didn't have jalopenos, so I used two small banana peppers. I also added a white Asian eggplant that I forgot to put on the grill earlier in the week.

More forgetfulness: I didn't realize that half of the onion was supposed to be fried 'til crispy and reserved to garnish the top. I left the browned onions in the pan; added the paste made of pureed onions, garlic, peppers and spices; then put in the okra and eggplant with some water to cook for 10 minutes.

At this point, I noticed that there was no picture accompanying the recipe. The dish had a nice lemony, spicy aroma, but it looked rather muddy, despite the bright green okra. I kept waiting for okra's notorious slimy side to appear.

My final verdict: not bad. The okra was lemony and tender, not slimy (although I could see it heading that way if I'd cooked it any longer). The spice balance wasn't quite right -- I was rushing to get dinner on the table -- and it needed the zing that jalopenos would have provided.

I'll give okra another chance, but probably not with this dish.

1 comment:

Carolyn Jung said...

Okra gets a bum rap. But when prepared well -- such as in wonderful Indian or Middle Eastern or Southern dishes, it is delightful. And who can forget about fried okra? Now, that would make anyone a convert.