Welcome back to our series Market Fresh, in which we take a look at one ingredient that's showing up in the city's Greenmarkets right now and tell you what to do with it. Last week, we looked at heirloom tomatoes, and today we're cooking with okra.
Okra, also known as lady's fingers, sometimes gets a bad rep because it can veer toward the slimy. But fresh okra, when quickly cooked with acidic ingredients like tomato or vinegar, has a lovely, slime-free snap that makes them addictive as a snack-sized finger food or as part of a larger dish. We spoke to Cafe 92YTribeca executive chef Russell Moss to find out what he does with the pods.
"I love okra and that puts me in the minority," Moss says. "However, really fresh okra cooked when it is at its peak makes me so many okra converts that I am always thinking of new ways to utilize this summer treat. This recipe includes some of my other favorite things like mustard seed and pistachio. It’s friendly to bright wines with maybe a little sweetness like big chardonnays and Rieslings. Many cooks have theories about cooking okra in order to eliminate the “sliminess” but if the okra is fresh just go with it."
Cafe 92YTribeca's Russell Moss's okra with ginger and tomatoes with candied pistachios
Serves four as an appetizer or a side
1 pound of very fresh okra
1 large tomato or 2 average size tomatoes, diced
2 ounces of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1/2 medium-sized onion, diced
2 teaspoons of mustard seed
1 teaspoon of freshly ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground allspice
1 tablespoon of white vinegar
2 tablespoons of canola oil
For the pistachios:
3 oz of shelled pistachios
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of cumin
1 small pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon of water
For the candied pistachios:
Mix pistachios, sugar, salt, cumin, cayenne and water in a small bowl.
Place on a non-stick baking pan.
Bake at three hundred and fifty degrees for about 20 minutes.
Allow to cool
For the okra:
Sweat the onion with all the spices (ginger, mustard seed, cumin, allspice) in the canola oil until the onion is translucent.
Turn up the heat and add the okra, cook for about five minutes.
Add the tomato and continue cooking until the water from the tomato is almost gone.
Add the vinegar and cook for another minute.
Salt to taste
Serve topped with the candied pistachios.