This recipe is inspired by the flavor mashup that happened when some roasted okra drifted into the molasses on my biscuits. The slightly metallic, dark sweetness of the molasses brought out the asparagus-meets-artichoke green flavor of the okra. I had just seen The Hundred-Foot Journey, about a family of Indian restaurateurs who choose a new home by tasting their way through European fields and farmers' markets. If they had tasted the okra from Edible Earthscapes, they might be cooking in Raleigh now.
The family landed in France, where presentation is as important as flavor. Wherever you've landed, you can multiple the pleasure found in fresh, seasonal food by taking a minute to make it look as good as it tastes. Serve on a thrift-shop plate with a sashay. Voilà! You've struck it rich by transforming fifty cents worth of ingredients into a thirty-dollar experience.
This recipe tells you how to roast okra in a regular oven as well as cooking it in a GoSun Solar Stove.
Active time: 10 minutes. Total time: about 35 minutes in an oven or about 45 minutes in a GoSun Solar Stove. Yield: 2 servings.
- 8 ounces young okra
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- unsulphured blackstrap molasses (optional), such as Wholesome Sweeteners' Organic Molasses
- If cooking in an oven, preheat it to 425°F. Cap okra, then cut some in half lengthwise and the rest diagonally into one-inch pieces. Toss okra with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Cook until edges start to brown and okra is tender and creamy.
- In an oven: Spread okra in a single layer in a large pan. I usually scatter the okra on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with parchment for easy clean-up.
- In a GoSun Solar Stove: Heap okra so it fills the cooking tube to the height of the long walls. The cooking time will vary based on the weather and time of year. The okra shown above cooked in 45 minutes starting with a cold oven in early September.
- Arrange servings beautifully. I arranged long spears in a star, then heaped the short pieces in the center. Pour a little blackstrap molasses into a small spoon, then drizzle it over the okra. Serve while the okra is still hot if possible. It's still delightful at room temperature.
- Red okra is a cook's secret delight. The color fades to olive green as it cooks. Whatever color you choose, look for slender, tender young pods. Older pods can be tough with bigger, more slippery seeds.
- Cutting and roasting the okra makes it less slippery, which appeals to people who think slimy is a better word than slippery for okra's texture.
- Okra helps you build strong bones and stay healthy because it is loaded with vitamin C, calcium, fiber, and antioxidants. It can bring immediate benefits to your athletic performance and love life, too, according to Time. Okra's polysaccharides open arteries and improve blood flow, inspiring some to call it plant Viagra.
- Blackstrap molasses is the juice from sugarcane that has been cooked and spun three times. It is darker and more nutritious than the first and second batches. It's a good source of calcium, iron, and potassium.