Roasted Local Okra

We just got in some delicious local okra from our good friend Buddy. How local are we talking about? How about 1.2 miles? Okra is a flowering plant in the mallow family that’s valued for its edible green seed pods. Originating in Africa, the plant is cultivated in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world – especially here in Virginia.

Not sure what to do with okra, let this simple rosting recipe take care of the guessing work.

Ingredients:

1 pound okra

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Fresh thyme leaves to taste (optional)

Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Rinse the okra, and drain on a kitchen towel. The okra should be dry. Trim away the stem ends and the tips, just the very ends, and then place the okra in a large bowl. Salt to taste, and toss with the olive oil until coated.

2. Lift the okra from the bowl, leaving behind any excess oil. Place on a sheet pan in one layer. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes (large okra might take a little longer), shaking the pan every five minutes. The okra should be lightly browned and tender, with a nice seared aroma. If you don’t want it to brown as much, set the oven at 400 degrees.

3. Remove from the heat, toss with fresh thyme, if desired, and freshly ground pepper. Transfer to a platter. Serve hot.

Yield: Serves four.

Advance preparation: You can trim the okra several hours ahead, but this is a last-minute dish.

Nutritional information per serving (four servings): 95 calories; 1 gramsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligramscholesterol; 8 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 9 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 2 grams protein

Martha Rose Shulman is the author of “The Very Best of Recipes for Health.”