Before I left Texas, I filled up on all of my Texas foods It was not a low calorie time in my life. I had to eat all of my favorites: fried avocados stuffed with beef and cheese, brisket, enchiladas, tamales, bar-b-q…
At times it got to be a bit much, but I pressed on because I wouldn’t be back until Christmas. If I had even the slightest craving for Tex-mex, I was off. Of course, I can cook these things myself (and I will) but there is just something about the atmosphere of going to a dinky, brightly colored little restaurant and eating food that is absolutely…well…maybe not the best for you. Are you with me?
Well, needless to say, the bingeing held me over for quite some time. Whenever anyone mentions going out for Mexican food (or Tex-mex) my stomach looks away, and this has well over a month. Maybe even 2 months. I am not a very good Texan, I suppose.
But finally, it happened: I got my first nostalgic craving while walking through the farmers market last Saturday: Okra.
Do you like okra? I mean–breaded and deep fried it’s all right. In gumbo it’s pretty darn good. But just to simple eat the okra, sauteed in a little butter with a little salt on top? That, for me, is heaven. It is my favorite way to eat okra, and as luck would have it, I think it’s also the simplest.
I even won my Bostonian boyfriend over to the ways of okra like this!
Simple, Sauteed Okra
4 Tbsp butter
about 30 pieces of Okra (I counted just so I could tell you hah)
Sea salt, to taste
Melt the butter in a pan. Add the okra. Cook for about 12 mins, stirring occasionally. When done, top with the course salt of your choice (I just use sea salt because I am in grad school and that is the most I can let myself spend on salt, but if you have something fancier, by all means, use it!)
Okay, now a few pointers:
1. Don’t stir the okra too much. You don’t want it to burn, of course, so stir it when you need to, but the more you stir it the more apt it is to fall apart. Some fall apart-age is good , actually encouraged (and unavoidable with pressure building up inside of the okra as it cooks), because that oozy okra juice comes out and helps with the cooking, but too much and it might become too oozy okra juicy…unless you like it that way. Which some people do.
2. To cook the okra through, I put the lid on a little bit (maybe about 4 minutes total throughout the cooking time).
3. For me, okra is like pasta: the only way to really tell if it is done (without over doing it) is to pull a piece out and taste it. If it is a little crunchy or stringy, keep cooking! It is usually done just as the tips start to pull apart: