Okra with Tomato

Another vegetable appearing in the markets this weekend, okra is grown all over the temperate and tropical world.  It originated in Africa, or maybe Southeast Asia, but it is now widely used around the world.  It came to the United States with our slaves and was a staple of the slave diet.

To retain most of okra’s nutrients and self-digesting enzymes, it should be cooked as little as possible, e.g. with low heat or lightly steamed. Some eat it raw.  I have a deep fried okra recipe I love, but this is tomato week, and here’s a great okra and tomato recipe.  The acid in the tomatoes keeps the okra from being too slimy.

Ingredients for Okra with Tomato:

  • 4 slices bacon (you can skip the bacon and use olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh okra, washed, stemmed, sliced about 1/2-inch thick
  • 4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • dash crushed red pepper, or one jalapeno to taste

Preparation of Okra with Tomato:

  • Fry bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp and fat has been rendered; drain well on paper towels.
  • Crumble bacon and set aside.
  • Add the chopped onions to the skillet; reduce the heat to low. Cook onions for 10 to 15 minutes, until tender, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the sliced okra, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper or jalapeno and stir well, then simmer for about 20 minutes, until okra and tomatoes are just tender.
  • To serve, spoon okra into a serving dish and sprinkle with the crumbled bacon.

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