Tuesday, August 06, 2013

sometimes curries fail, but okra is forever

Two weeks ago, I presented to you my favorite creamy tahini dressing, and a promise to blog every Tuesday rain or shine. As usual, my grandiose plans fizzled before take 2. Sigh. Whatever; I'm turning 37 next week and clearly this is who I am meant to be. I'm not going to stop making grandiose plans just because I'm a big fat loser!!!

I skipped last Tuesday because I hadn't cooked anything. FOR A WEEK. In my defense I was moving so the kitchen was in complete disarray but really, wow. Then last night, for Meatless Monday, I was super intent on making a lovely chickpea coconut curry to share with you today, and... it flopped. Not a complete flop, but it definitely didn't sing. It didn't sizzle. It was definitely not worthy of sharing. We have leftovers, too, so I've got some major tweaking to do before I can eat it again. 

Nom nom nom.
SO. Let's get to the okra. I found these lovely specimens at the Sunday farmers' market and was thrilled. Now, I love love love fried okra. Fried okra is one of my very favorite things. I'm from the South, y'all. I'd eat fried okra at the movies if they sold it to me in a paper bag with salt and pepper. But I have neither time nor inclination to deep fry at home. What a mess. Boiling/steaming = slime. No time for stewing or pickling. I thought I'd try my tried-and-true method of roasting... but that didn't seem quite right either. That's when my stroke of genius hit: cornmeal.

prep time: 5 minutes

I washed the pods and sliced them on the bias, then tossed to coat with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a mixture of cornmeal and coarser-ground polenta. Into the oven they went, 425, in a glass casserole big enough to give them room to crisp.

close-enough-to-fried

It took about half an hour, tossing every 10 minutes or so, and it turned out par-fried: perfectly done on the inside, not a wisp of slime anywhere, crisp and caramelized on the outside, and crunchy. I can only imagine that it is healthier than its deep-fried cousin, but certainly no less tasty. This is bound to become a staple in my house during okra season.

this helping could have been bigger.

I served them with this chicken from the latest issue of Bon App├ętit, and I could have happily gobbled up at least twice the amount I made. I even stole some from the mister when he wasn't looking. And bought more okra this week!