Although sometimes maligned for its viscous "slime," or mucilage, okra is a versatile vegetable that is also an excellent source of vitamins A and C. Widely embraced in Southern cooking, okra is often used to thicken stews like gumbo, or is breaded and deep-fried for a crunchy, tasty snack. However, roasting the okra is a healthier option that also greatly minimizes its sliminess. You can roast okra whole and serve it as a side dish, or opt for a lighter, baked version of traditional breaded and fried okra.
Things You'll Need
- Fresh okra pods
- Baking sheet
- Paper towels
- Olive oil
- Kitchen knife
- Canola oil
- Parmesan cheese, optional
- Bread crumbs, optional
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rinse and lightly pat dry the okra with paper towels. Slice off the the tough stem ends and the tips.
Place the okra in a bowl and drizzle olive oil on them. Toss the okra to coat. Use just enough oil to lightly coat all of the okra.
Spread the oiled okra out on a baking sheet and place in the oven to roast for about 15 minutes, or until the okra is well browned. Shake the pan roughly every five minutes while the okra are roasting to ensure they are evenly cooked.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Breaded and Baked
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a baking sheet with canola oil.
Slice okra into chunks about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in size. Discard the okra stems and tips.
Beat eggs in a bowl and add enough buttermilk to make a creamy egg wash. For every pound of okra, use one egg in the egg wash.
Pour cornmeal in a bowl and season generously to taste. Use 1 cup of cornmeal for every pound of okra. You can season the cornmeal with salt, pepper, garlic powder and other seasonings that you like.
Dip the cut okra in the egg wash, then into the bowl of cornmeal. Toss until all the okra is fully coated.
Spread the okra out onto a baking sheet and place in the oven to bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, flipping them with a spatula halfway through. The okra is ready when the breading looks crispy and has started to turn a golden brown. Serve hot with ketchup or a creamy, mayonnaise-based dipping sauce.
Tips & Warnings
- Enhance the flavor and texture of the cornmeal by mixing in finely grated Parmesan cheese, Italian-style bread crumbs or Panko bread crumbs
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