First time I tried okra was when I went to Louisiana. It is a very different place compare to NYC. Southern hospitality is a real deal. Guess what dish did I have that had okra in it? Gumbo. Of course! I was then wondering what are these white little balls floating around the soup. Turned out they were okra seeds (not fish eyes like I thought at first!). Okra. I fell in love right then. What an interesting vegetable! Precious fuzzy pods full of white round seeds and sticky juice. Once you cook these pods they are delicious! I like okra cooked down and slightly crispy.
How beautiful are these okra flowers?
I created this salad inspired by one of the seasonal specials at a lovely veggie joint in East village – Superiority Burger. It is a wonderful side to a main dish, or could be a meal on its own. So let’s get cooking!
2 lbs fresh okra (I got mine from Union square green market)
1/4 green cabbage (or Chinese cabbage)
1 cup brown rice (uncooked)
1/4 c raw almonds
1/4 c fresh dill
2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used avocado oil)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp vinegar ( I used champagne vinegar)
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Rinse rice and cook it according to the package instructions – usually about 40-45 minutes.
Wash okra, chop off the stem ends. Cut on bias (i.e. at 45-degree angle) 1/4 inch thick pieces. Roast okra on a cast iron skilled in vegetable oil on a medium heat. Let it become golden and crispy with most of liquid evaporated out. This should take about 15 minutes. Add generous amount of black pepper ans salt. Set aside once cooked.
Shred cabbage, saute quickly on high heat. About 2 minutes to soften it up just a little.
Roast almonds for a few minutes on the same cast iron. Give them that golden glow.
Mix rice, cabbage, okra and dill together. Add olive oil and vinegar. Serve warm. Sprinkle with almonds. Enjoy!