This is the okra recipe for everyone. Already love okra? You're going to flip over how its delicate grassy flavor gets highlighted with this simple cooking method. Suspicious of okra? Worried about it maybe being slimy? Have no fear! By cooking the pods whole, quickly, and without liquid, you avoid the factors that make it slimy, and you can enjoy its fabulous flavor—augmented with a touch of garlic—without fear. Once you master the method, check out the variations at the end of this recipe to keep things fun.
Quickly cooked in a hot pan with a bit of garlic, okra shines in this dish as a summer vegetable worth seeking out at every opportunity. Smaller pods are better for this treatment (the really big ones tend to be a bit tough and fair better chopped up and stewed).
- 1 pound okra
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 teaspoons oil (olive, grapeseed, or other)
- Trim off and discard the stem ends of the okra, if you like. Rinse the trimmed pods, pat them dry, and set them aside. Be sure to dry them, extra water in the cooking process can lead to the slick factor this okra recipe is designed to avoid.
- Peel the garlic clove, cut it in half lengthwise, and slice it crosswise as thinly as possible.
- Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the oil, swirl the pan to coat the bottom with the oil, and heat until the oil shimmers, about 30 seconds.
- Add the garlic and let it sizzle until it just starts to turn golden, about 1 minute.
- Add the okra, stir to coat it with oil and combine it with the garlic. Cover and cook, shaking the pan frequently to move the okra pods around inside, until the okra is starting to brown on the edges and is tender to the bite, about 8 minutes.
- Transfer the okra to a serving platter or individual plates. Sprinkle with salt to taste and serve.
- Use a green onion cut into short lengths and then slivers instead of the garlic for a gentler flavor
- Drizzle on a teaspoon or so of soy sauce or tamari instead of sprinkling with salt at the end
- Add a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger with the garlic for a flavorful kick
- Throw in a handful of tiny grape tomatoes with the okra for brightness and juiciness (don't worry about that juiciness upping the slime-factor—tomatoes have acid in them that keeps the slime in check!)
- Sprinkle on some freshly chopped mint before serving—the sweetness of mint is a particularly good match for the grassiness of okra
- Spice things up with 1/4 teaspoon chile flakes or a small fresh green chile, chopped, added along with the garlic
- Add a simple spritz of fresh lemon juice before serving for a lovely brightness