One of the vegetable stands at the Alemany Farmers Market had a ton of fresh okra on sale the other week. I bought a bunch of it, almost 2lbs. I didn’t see much okra this summer. I wonder why? I hope this vegetable is not falling out of fashion, or worse, that people are giving up on it because of the slime issue. Okra is delicious, and pretty, too. In Brazil we used to grow it in the front garden because the plants have beautiful leaves and bear cute yellow flowers with thin delicate petals.
This is an ultra simple recipe for okra and tomatoes that I grew up eating. It is similar to that green bean and tomato dish I made recently. You will love it! The secret to making it non-slimy, if you care about that, is too cook the okra at high temperature and to avoid cutting them open. This way the inside juices don’t run off into the sauce making it, you know, slimy.
quiabo refogado com tomates, or stewed okra and tomatoes
~2lbs whole okra
5 Roma tomatoes (very ripe) cut in halves
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tbsp olive oil
½ medium size white onion, cut into small cubes
½ tsp garlic pepper sauce
½ cup water or vegetable broth
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh lime or lemon wedges
Place three tablespoons of olive oil in a deep pan. Heat the oil for a minute or until fragrant. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Push onion to the side of the pan, add garlic and continue sautéing until raw garlic aroma is gone. Be careful not to burn it! Add okra, water or vegetable broth, tomato and salt. Give everything a good stir, cover and cook on high heat for about 4 minutes, shaking the pan vigorously every now and then.
Uncover pan. At this point tomato skins will be peeling. Remove skins with the help of a tong and/or fork. Add garlic pepper sauce, stir and cook until tomatoes are dissolved. Cooking time should not be longer than 8 minutes, total. Transfer okra immediately to a serving dish, while still al dente. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and several twists of freshly ground black pepper. Once plated, like with pasta, okra will continue to cook for a bit, but it won’t turn into mush or become slippery. Serve as a side dish with a wedge of lime.