Jamon loves okra. The first time I ever tried it was in Vegas last year, it was only an appetizer, but at first bite I knew that I could just eat a bowl of it and be happy. O man. It was so yummy. We licked the plate clean. Since then, I’ve been on the hunt for Okra. Apparently, it’s not too common in UT, because last night was the first time I’ve seen it fresh at the store. Why now? When Okra is definitely not in season? I’m not too sure, but I went against all my normal rules and bought it. Just because Jamon loves it. and I love a new challenge.
People are opinionated about their okra. It’s a bit like brussel sprouts. You either love it or hate it. Despite my love at first taste, all the blogs and recipes I read about the slim and the stringiness intimidated me. You have to make sure you cook it long enough, you have to make sure you get rid of the slim. Blah blah blah. Jesus, it’s cooking a vegetable, it can’t be rocket science. I’m not going to let a little stable of the south scare me. I’m going to cook okra, and it will be delicious!
Smoothered Shrimp and Okra
What you will need:
One big pot or deep frying pan
another medium sized pot and vegetable steamer
1/2 onion, sliced
3 garlic gloves, diced
1/2 lb okra
1 14.5 oz can chopped tomatoes
1/2 pound shrimp
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon cumin
handful of fresh basil leaves, diced
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for sauteing
Pour olive oil in the bottom of a large pot/deep frying pan and turn the stove up to a medium/ high heat. Toss in the onions and allow to soften. After 5 minutes, turn the heat up high and add the cayenne and cumin. This step is key to bringing out the flavour in the spices, but you want to add them quickly and move fast, they burn quickly! and burnt spices don’t taste good. Cook on high for no more than a minute, if the pan starts to smoke that is ok, but take the spice/onion mix of the burner and place to the side.
Add okra, salt, pepper, and a little bit more olive oil to the pan and return to the burner on a medium heat for 15 minutes, occasionally stirring the okra. This will help cook the slim out of the okra before “smothering” it in the tomatoes
After 15 minutes, add tomatoes and garlic, place a lid on top and allowed to sit on a low heat for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes add shrimp and fresh basil, turn the heat back up to medium and place the lid back on top. It should take roughly 5 minutes for the shrimp to cook thoroughly.
We served this with Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes:
What you will need:
medium sized pot and vegetable steamer
1 head of cauliflower
1/2 can Aroy-D coconut milk (previously placed in the fridge to allow the fat to separate from the water)
nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt to taste
Steam the cauliflower for about 10 minutes, or until it is soft. Throw cauliflower in the food processor (or vitamix, immersion blender, whatever) and puree with the fat scooped off the top of the coconut milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. You may need to reheat it on the stove prior to serving as the refrigerated coconut milk cools the cauliflower down considerably.