Yesterday, I went to one of my favorite places, an Indian Grocery. I love going to the Indian Grocery. The owners are super nice and the products I find there are just awesome… not to mention the prices! Well, Asia Spices had okra on sale so I just had to purchase some:) Ever since I worked at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, I have loved making okra… and snacking on okra. Often times when it was busy at Michael’s there was not any time to eat a full meal, so I would ask the fellows at the wood fire oven station to make me some okra. Then I started working the wood fire station and I learned how to make my own roasted okra… and how to properly cut it:) When you go to Michael’s in Miami, make sure to order the roasted okra… I am going to tell you how to make it at home, but there is nothing like the flavor that is added when it is roasted in a real wood fire oven!!! ( Of course there is really nothing that is not fantastic at Michael’s … the food is always fresh and just down right delicious… even if I don’t work there anymore.. LOL)
Roasted Okra Bites
( these are great for a snack…. or a side dish)
- Whole fresh Okra ( about 1 1/2 pounds- it may seem like a lot but okra shrinks when you cook it)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees (yes… 500 degrees, you want a HOT oven, at Michael’s the wood fire oven get super hot!).
Then take the bottom of your broiler pan or a heavy duty sheet pan (cookie sheet…. LOL Chef Susser- he used to always reprimand me for using the term cookie sheet, to those who are not in the industry… the term cookie sheet is not used, that item is referred to as a sheet pan) put a little extra virgin olive oil on the pan, then tilt the pan to coat most of the pan.
Then take the okra and cut it. You want to cut it on a bias. The reason for this is that when you cut it on a bias, you give the okra more exposed area, thus you get a really nice caramelization and browning on more of the okra. This really adds to the flavor of this dish. ( I learned this from Chef Black at Michael’s).
The next step is to place the cut okra in the pan. Spread the okra pieces out on the pan.
Then squirt a little more extra virgin olive oil on top of the okra pieces. ( Don’t over do the olive oil, a little goes a long way:)
Then sprinkle the okra pieces with Maldon Sea Salt Flakes.( If you do not have Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, then use a nice sea salt. This adds a great deal of flavor to the dish so don’t use table salt .)
Place the pan in the preheated 500 degree oven.
Then clean up. Okra will cause your knife to get this sticky coating on it. Be careful when cleaning your knife, I cut myself during my internship when I was cleaning my knife after cutting the okra. Also, make sure to clean your cutting board right away. Okra is a sticky mess.. but the taste is well worth the few minutes it takes to clean:)
Then set the timer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, stir the okra with a heatproof utensil. Be very careful. The pan will be extremely HOT!
After stirring the okra. Close the oven door and set the timer for another 5 minutes. Once again stir with a heatproof utensil. This time the pan will be super HOT… Be careful:)
Then close the oven door and set the timer for another 5 minutes.
When the timer goes off, take the pan out of the oven. Place pan on a heatproof surface. Then sprinkle with a bit more of the Maldon Sea Salt Flakes.
Place in a serving dish; I find that a white dish is especially nice because it brings out the lovely colors of the green okra and the dark tasty parts of the okra. Enjoy!!!
Just in case you needed one more reason to eat okra… Okra is healthy:) Here is an interesting article about okra.. even Cleopatra ate okra for its wonderful health benefits:) http://www.pyroenergen.com/articles07/okra-health-benefits.htm
Here is a video about growing okra for my Perky Followers that grow their own food:)