This weekend I went to the Santa Barbara farmer’s market for the first time in awhile. Its such a good time of year: peaches, plums, grapes, citrus, figs, melons… and that’s just the fruit side of things. I don’t really allow myself to buy vegetables, since we have so many in abundance. But I did buy two that I’ve never used before: tomatillos and okra.
As a kid, I loved fried okra! But I was curious what other recipes involving okra were out there, besides gumbo. A search for okra through Tastespotting led me to this succotash recipe. I don’t really know much about succotash in general, but it’s Wikipedia definition is “a food dish consisting primarily of corn and lima beans or other shell beans.” To me, this is just screaming for substitutions in the form of whatever I have on hand, which usually works out in my favor. And the end result to this dish was really good. But how could I have ever known about the okra slime factor?
Did you know about that? Because I definitely had no idea that okra, when cooked for some amount of time, releases mucilage. Ew. Hence all the fried okra, I suppose. (Or following the directions and blanching it! Oops) Its rare that I’m apprehensive about the dishes I make, so I was extremely relieved that this turned out well – and that Matt really liked it.
We ate this for dinner last night served on top of roasted sweet potatoes, topped with a squirt of Sriracha. I ate it again for lunch today with a fried egg – the perfect recovery food after running half of the 9 Trails course this morning (17 miles of steep up and down in ~ 4 hours). Since giving up meat and dairy, I do think I’m running better and faster, as well as recovering a little better from hard efforts. Normally the transition into runs 16+ miles leaves me feeling wiped, but today I felt really strong at the end. But not strong enough that I wanted to turn around and do the second half!
I deviated from the original recipe by using yellow split peas instead of chickpeas (because I’m trying to clean out the kitchen cupboards before October), and added zucchini (because I have a lot of it). I included the directions for blanching okra – highly recommended to avoid slime!
1 ½ lbs okra
1 small red onion, chopped
2 c cooked yellow split peas (1 cup dried, cooked in 2 cups water for 25 minutes)
Kernels from 2 ears of corn
½ bell pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1/2 bunch swiss chard or kale, chopped
1 inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 jalapeno or chile pepper, finely chopped
Large handful cilantro, roughly chopped
½ lime, juiced
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl halfway with water and adding two large handfuls of ice. Boil the okra for about 5 minutes, strain, and then plunge in the ice bath. Once completely cooled, chop the okra into bite-sized pieces. This step can be one day ahead.
2. In a large pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil or butter and sauté the red onion until translucent. Add the corn, bell pepper, zucchini and a generous pinch of two of salt and sauté for another few minutes. Add the greens and saute til wilted. Add the ginger and jalapeno and cook for another minute.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the okra, cilantro and lime juice.