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.
Reprinted with permission from Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart. Copyright 2012. Published by Gibbs Smith. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 20 okra (about 3 cups, sliced vertically or horizontally)
- 2 tablespoon oil, cook’s preference
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toss sliced okra gently with oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Move okra onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Turn okra to the other side halfway through the cooking time. Total time to cook the okra depends on the thickness of the slice, so adjust baking time accordingly. Remove from oven when crispy and transfer to a paper towel. Any leftovers can be refrigerated. They will lose their crispiness but may be reheated.
Variation: Cynthia roasts her okra whole, following the method above, and keeps them on hand for snacking.
Grilled Okra Variation: Slice okra or leave whole. Toss gently with oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Preheat a grill pan on the stove, or preheat the grill to medium. Add the okra to the hot pan or grill and cook 5 to 6 minutes per side. Remove when crispy.