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[Photograph: Kate Williams]

Okra is a divisive vegetable. I've personally never had a problem with the slime factor, but I know of many adventurous eaters who won't go near the green, finger-shaped veggie. Most Southern preparations either embrace the slime, using its thickening powers in gumbo and stews, or they do their best to mask it, coating slivers with cornmeal for a gloriously crisp fried crust. These roasted okra chips from Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart's Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking take an easier path: roasting. The hot oven crisps and caramelizes thin slices of okra, transforming the contentious vegetable into an addictive appetizer.

Why I picked this recipe: Okra screams Southern summer, and I was excited to try this new cooking method.

What worked: Roasting does indeed keep the slime at bay. I couldn't stop eating the chips off of the baking sheet.

What didn't: At 350 degrees, the okra didn't get quite as dark as I would have preferred. Next time, I'm going to bump the oven up to 400 or 425 for more efficient browning action.

Suggested tweaks: You could go crazy with seasoning these chips: anything from smoked paprika to garlic powder (or even brown sugar!) would be fine additions.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and Berkeleyside NOSH, and she blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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