Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Midwestern Comfort

Football arrived in a booming fashion last weekend. It blared from my speakers and spiked my blood with unrelenting energy! I’m using this as reasoning for my insane decision to run 4+ miles in Okie heat for a bag of okra from the farmer’s market on Saturday. I don’t live that far but it was necessary to hit the bank’s ATM first which made one heck of a sweet Saturday morning stroll.

I don’t know what sparked my desire for but sometimes we just need some good ol’ Midwestern comfort cooking in our kitchen. Sorry, since we don’t live in the south so I couldn’t justify this to be a southern comfort food and took the opportunity to rebrand if you will. Plus folks, it ain’t fried.

So as the wind came sweepin’ down the plains that morning (or rather the light breeze down the running path that was dotted with the sweet aroma of honeysuckles and sweat), I began to mull over recipes in my head. The thought of subjecting the fresh okra to Crisco torture made me cringe. My trek was making me put that okra on a mouthwatering pedestal!

So, I decided that to get the most of my woody green stems I would roast them. A little salt, pepper, and olive oil sounded simple and a dash of jerk spice found at the market sounded salivating. Obviously you can use whatever spice your little Midwestern heart desires but you know I always gravitate towards sides with a bit o’ kick!

This okra took no time at all and it gave comfort without any butter or deep fry bath. Eat your heart out Paula Deen.

Spicy Roasted Okra
This okra was slightly crunchy on the outside, and delightfully moist on the inside. I had to seriously refrain from eating them off the baking sheet before I plated. Okay, maybe I had two. Or five. Go for smaller okra as the large ones didn’t have as great of texture in my opinion. Simple Midwestern comfort at it’s best.

• 1 pound whole okra
• EVOO spray
• Kosher salt
• Fresh ground pepper
• Seasoning of choice (I had jerk seasoning to use up!)

Preheat your oven to 450F.

Rinse your okra well and pat dry. Lightly spray with olive oil and toss in your spices. I am pretty liberal with mine, as you all know very well by now. Place evenly on a baking sheet and lightly spray one more time with olive oil. This is where spray versus liquid comes in handy.

Bake for 20 minutes, turning half way and watching closely so they don’t burn. Let cool and serve warm!