Omnivore - Simple summer grilling: okra

Grilled okra is easy and addictive


Okra is one of those love it or hate it vegetables, with the "hate it" crowd often objecting to the slime factor. I happen to be in the "love it" camp - I love pickled okra, I love the "vacuum-fried" okra at Fresh Market, I love heavily spiced Indian okra dishes, and I love good old Southern fried okra. By the way, most of these, if done right, eliminate the slime. But I was recently turned on to another way to tackle okra, and it's one that is so good (and so simple) that it will win over at least some of the haters.

On the way home from a recent trip to the North Georgia mountains, we picked up a mess of fresh okra from the Osage Farms stand up in Dillard. I try to pick out the smaller pieces, as okra can get a bit tough as it gets bigger, but this preparation even handles massive okra very well. Here it is - rinse and dry your okra, toss it in some olive oil and sea salt, throw it on a hot grill, and let it cook until it reaches a soft texture with a nice black char in spots (about 6-10 minutes depending on how hot your grill is, turning midway). Sprinkle on a touch more sea salt after cooking. You'll be tempted to eat them right away, especially after you try your first one, but give them a few minutes to cool down as they will be HOT. Grilling the okra makes it tender (and dry), the simple combination of olive oil and salt helps the flavor really burst forth, and the smokiness imparted from the grill is the final touch for a super easy summer treat. So go pick up some summer okra at your favorite farmers market and fire up that grill!