Okra fairs well when it's treated with the proper respect. It likes things hot (it grows in the high humid heat of summer quite happily, thank you), so roasting it in a hot oven makes some sense. No liquid, nothing to encourage its famously slimy edge: just okra, heat, and a bit of time to bring out its earthy, nutty, slightly sweet edge. While this recipe makes an obvious side dish, I've been known to set out roasted okra as more of an appetizer or snack while the rest of dinner is still underway—it's always the first such item to go, with purported okra-haters the first to gobble it up.
As always, look for pods with minimal (if any) browning. You want bright, plump, lively-seeming okra—nothing tired out or past its prime. Remarkably small pods can be kept whole, small and medium pods should be halved as instructed below. Beware of large okra specimens; like zucchini, okra can get woody when it gets to big, and nothing can really change that, as much as you'd like to.
- 1 pound okra
- 3 green onions
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Preheat an oven to 400°F. While the oven heats, trim the okra, removing the tough stem ends. Cut the okra pods in half lengthwise for faster, more even roasting; cutting them before cooking in the dry heat of the oven also seems to further minimize the slime-factor for which these nutty pods are so famous.
- Trim off and discard the root end and any dried part from the green ends of the green onions. Cut the green onions in half lengthwise, and then cut them (white and green parts) into 3-inch lengths.
- Either in a roasting pan, on a rimmed baking sheet, or in a large bowl, combine the okra and the green onion. Drizzle the vegetables with the oil and sprinkle with the salt. Toss to coat everything evenly and thoroughly. Spread the vegetables in a single layer in a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet.
- Roast the okra until it's tender and its edges are browning; this tends to happen somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 minutes. After 15 minutes, you may want to take the pan out and stir the vegetables around a bit, being sure to settle the okra back into a single layer before returning the pan to the oven to finish roasting. Serve the roasted okra, hot or warm.