I immediately want cornmeal and flour when I see okra. Is that a bit of southern creeping out or does everyone wanna fry these green pods when they see 'em? There is no doubt that I can put away a pound of fried okra in a day. Psshh.. easy. Not even an challenge. Wouldn't even be impressed. And don't get me started on pickled okra! Too late, I'm riled up! Even okra haters can appreciate the pickled variety. Heck, why not let some of those pickled okras onto your next cheese board? I hadn't even tried pickled okra until my first year in Austin. An old roommate brought me a jar and I was a happy girl. At that moment I decided to stop stealing her toothpaste.
I'm kidding, Jessica! It wasn't me! Relax.
Lemon-Chili Charred Okra
1 lb fresh okra
3 tbsp olive oil
Fresh lemon juice (1-2 small lemons)*
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp minced red onion
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Top with reserved chopped cilantro, sprinkle of kosher salt and charred lemon
Combine olive oil, fresh juice of one lemon, garlic, onion, red pepper, and 1/2 tbsp of cilantro. Taste & season with salt. Add an extra squeeze of lemon if need. * I realized my first lemon was a dud and had to cut another to get a few extra squeezes of juice in there-taste as you go!
Trim the okra and cut in half lengthwise. Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Make sure to use your tried and true, well seasoned skillet. In batches, place okra cut side down in the pan. Be sure you don't over crowd the pan. Cook until a nice char is achieved, about 3-4 minutes. Toss okra and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes, again, until a nice char is achieved.
Toss hot okra with the lemon-chili mix. Remove from lemon mix and plate. Sprinkle with remaining fresh cilantro, sprinkle of kosher salt, and a squeeze of charred lemon.