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Okra may prove to be a difficult vegetable if you're not sure how to prepare it. It gets a bad rap for being 'slimey', but if you cook it whole at a hot temperature the soluble plant fiber won't create this texture. Cooking okra with something acidic like tomatoes, vinegar, or lemon juice may also help. Okra is packed with fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants, calcium and potassium and is used in many different cultures around the world.

QUICK IDEAS: toss in olive oil and salt and put it on the grill; batter and fry and serve with a dipping sauce; make gumbo...it is the key ingredient!

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Almond Crusted Okra:
from Roostblog.com

1 lb fresh whole okra, cleaned, end trimmed (get rid of that stem!)
2 cups finely ground almond flour (I take whole almonds and put them in my food processor, but cornmeal or wheat flour would work, too!)
3-4 eggs
salt
frying oil of choice....you could use non GMO vegetable oil or canola oil or ghee
heirloom tomatoes
fresh basil for garnish

Chive Aioli (makes about 2 cups)
2 large garlic cloves, minced (sub onions if you do not have garlic)
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water
Juice of 1/2 lemon or more to taste
2 tablespoons chives, chopped fine
salt

Directions
1)  Fill a dutch oven or a heavy bottom pot with about three inches of oil. Heat to about 325F-350F degrees (use a thermometer for this).
2) Pour almond flour on a plate or pyrex casserole dish.
3) Crack eggs in a separate dish and whisk. Dredge the okra (just a handful at a time) in the egg, shake off extra and then roll in almond flour.
4) Carefully place battered okra in the oil. If it doesn't bubble up immediate turn the heat up. Do not overcrowd the pan, this will lower the temperature and give you soggy okra.
5) Using a spoon, rotate the okra so it fries evenly, about 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon transfer okra to a plate lined with paper towels. Immediately sprinkle with salt.
6) Whisk garlic and egg yolks in a bowl. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking. Thin out with water to desired consistency. Add lemon juice and salt to taste.
7) To assemble stack tomatoes on top of each other. Place okra around tomatoes and sprinkle with fresh basil. Drizzle aioli and enjoy!


Spicy Garlic Okra: Makes 6 servings
from Martha Foose via monicabhide.com

1 quart water
1 cup cider vinegar
1 pound small, tender okra pods, trimmed
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ripe medium tomato, seeded and diced

Directions:
1) Combine the water, vinegar and okra in a large bowl. Soak the okra for 1 hour.
2)Drain and pat the okra dry. Using a sharp knife, cut the okra lengthwise into thin strips.
3) In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the onion and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until the onion is soft and golden. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 1 minute more; do not let the garlic darken. Using a slotted spoon, scrape the onions onto a plate and set aside.
4) Stir-fry the okra in the skillet until tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
5) Stir in the tomato and onion. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Serve immediately


Okra Fritters: Makes 6 servings
from Southern Bite

1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups okra, de-stemmed and coarsley chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 large egg
1/4 cup buttermilk (sub plain yogurt or milk if needed)
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying

Directions:
1) Heat oil in heavy skillet, just enough to cover the bottom of the skillet good.
2) In bowl mix flour, salt and pepper.
3) Add onion and okra toss to coat.
4) In small bowl mix together egg and buttermilk and add to okra mixture and stir just until combined.
5) Drop batter in med hot skillet in about 1/4 cup mound and then flatten the okra mound with a spatula and fry until golden brown. Usually takes about 4 to 5 minutes per side, if browning to quickly may need to lower the heat, turn only once.
6) Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with a little salt. Makes about ten fritters. Can dip in a dipping sauce of your choice.


Okra with Lime, and Ginger: Serves 4
From Gourmet Magazine September 2009

1 lb small to medium okra
1 cup chopped scallions or onions
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (2 by 1 inch) piece peeled ginger, cut into very thin matchsticks
Lime wedges

Directions
1) Steam okra in a steamer over boiling water,covered, until just tender, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish.
2) Cook scallions or onions in oil over medium heat until softened.
3) Pour over okra and toss with ginger. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over okra.

Okra