Recipe File: Sauteed Okra with Roasted Red Peppers
Okra is a delight to eat. This "vegetable" is just as wonderful as a thickening agent in stews such as gumbo (in fact, gumbo is another name for the okra plant) as it is sauteed in oil. The texture differences between the cooking styles are amazing, however. In gumbo, the okra is soft and gooey, almost a slimey texture. When sauteed, okra is crisp and tender. In both cases, it has a wonderful flavor and is complimented by other strong flavors. In this dish, I couple the okra with some spicy jalapeno chiles and the sweet taste of roasted red peppers.
First, place two red peppers on the grill at medium-low heat in order to roast them. If the grill is inconvenient, you can place then under the broiler in the oven. Set it on low if your oven has multiple broiler settings. We're looking for a black charring around the entire pepper with some bubbling on the skin. Rotate the peppers about every five minutes to evenly char the surface.
Start with one pound (450 g) okra, 1/2 jalapeno chile sliced into circles (use whole jalapeno for more spiciness), a minced french shallot, and two cloves of garlic, minced.
Once the peppers are blackened and bubbling, remove from the grill and place in a bowl. Cover the bowl with another bowl or a plate to catch the steam. The steam will help loosen up the charred skin from the roasted pepper. This step of roasting the pepper, really helps to heighten the flavor inherent in the pepper. In this picture, you'll see that I was in a bit of a hurry, so I took the peppers off the flame a bit early. It's okay, they are done, but it's a bit more difficult to get all the skin off if they are not completely charred.
After five minutes, remove the skin from the peppers (using either your fingers or a knife to scrape it off). Then cut into 1/2 inch strips.
Now that all the ingredients have been assembled, heat one tablespoon of oil on a saute pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add minced shallots and jalapeno chile.
Once the shallots have nicely browned, add okra to the pan. Spread the okra out in a single layer. Cook, tossing occassionally, until the okra color as brightened.
Once the okra is bright green (but still crisp), about four minutes, add the roasted peppers and minced garlic.
Saute for another two to three minutes and you're done!
Sauteed Okra with Roasted Red Peppers (serves two)
|1 Tbs. oil||heat||brown||saute||saute|
|1/2 jalapeno chile||slice|
|1 lb. okra|
|2 red bell peppers||roast||peel||cut into strips|
|2 cloves garlic, minced|