Roasted okra rocks. The complex, artichoke-like flavor shines through, enhanced by umami from the browning. The slipperiness (or sliminess) dials back to a mere sense of comfort and ease. Small shishito peppers roast at the same rate. They are one of the gambling peppers, with nine out of ten being mild but the tenth one with a mid-level of heat. This combination makes a great side dish or appetizer with drinks, but of course you can choose just one or the other.
This casual summer recipe is vague about the serving sizes and ingredient amounts. Cook as much as you want, but keep the vegetables in a single layer and not touching so they roast instead of steam.
Active time: 4 minutes. Total time: 14 minutes. Vegan and gluten free.
Tender, fresh okra, usually less than four inches long
Coarse salt (sea salt or kosher salt) or table salt
- Heat toaster oven or regular oven to 425°F or if you have a convection broiler to 400°F. Put okra and shishito peppers on on a baking tray or cookie sheet, toss with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Use kosher salt or sea salt if you have it.
- Roast for 8 minutes, shake the pan to prevent sticking, and roast for another 2 or 3 minutes until okra and peppers begin to brown in spots. Unfortunately, if you started with red okra, the heat will turn it green.
- Serve hot or at room temperature. Don't eat the okra caps or pepper stems. Refrigerate any extra for up to a week and let come to room temperature before serving.
- Wikipedia says people usually poke a hole in each pepper to prevent bursting while cooking, but I've never noticed that problem.
- Toaster ovens heat up faster than wall ovens, use less electricity, and heat up your kitchen less. If you are roasting a full cookie-sheet worth of vegetables, use your big oven.
- Thanks to Jason and Haruka Oatis of Edible Earthscapes for introducing me to shishito peppers and many other interesting Japanese vegetables.