In a word? Scrumptious! I could not stop eating these. And if you are a veggie snob, one who turns her nose up at homely green mucous filled pods, then you are in for a surprise...if you are willing to adjust - not lower - your veggie standards just a bit! This is the third appetizer in a week long appetizerpalooza...and while it's a bit different, IF you'll try it, you'll be wondering where it's been all your life!
Okra is usually found in stews, soups or gumbos...where it's slimey insides can blend in with tomatoes or stock and not be detected by finnickety eaters (kids) or those with highly trained palettes (foodies) who think they have an aversion to the stuff! If you are one of those people...please put your okra prejudices aside long enough to try this appetizer...because grilling the okra does something to the insides...makes them less "slimey"...and the dipping sauce is refreshing and bright and together they make the perfect summer appetizer or side dish!
The okra is trimmed just a bit, then brushed with olive oil, salt and pepper...it's grilled on water-soaked wooden skewers for about 5 minutes per side, until the outside is crispy-tender and the inside is warm and soft. While the okra is cooking, you make the sauce - which is super easy!
If you have fresh lemons on hand, use them, they are always better than the bottled stuff, but that was all I had on hand...Greek yogurt mixed with lemon juice, fresh basil, minced garlic, salt and pepper...it's the tangiest and happiest dip you'll ever have!
Fresh okra can be kind of tricky to find in the Northwest - but luckily for those of you who live around me - we can buy it at Apna Bazaar, the new Indian Market on the Plateau. Check your local farmers markets this time of year and since I know I'll be making this again and again, I'm going to try frozen okra to see if that would be a good substitute for when I can't get it fresh - I'll let you know how that goes.
Grilled Okra with Basil Lemon Yogurt Sauce - Adapted From Southern Living, July 2009
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
24 fresh okra (about 1 1/2 lbs.), trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper for okra
8 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 10 minutes
Wash and dry okra, trim ends. Place okra, one at a time, onto two skewers (see picture above). Put six okra onto each set of skewers, making 4 sets. In a small bowl combine olive oil and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Brush okra with olive oil. With grill set to medium high, place skewers onto hot grill, cover and let grill for about 4 to 5 minutes, then turn and repeat on other side, adding more olive oil if necessary. Check to make sure okra is not burning. Remove from grill to serving plate.