In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring: California Okra

Fresh Okra, Tomato & Corn Sauté with Diced Ham and Peppers

This simple side is a great way to introduce okra to the family. It goes well as a side to grilled meat, accompanied by cornbread. Adapted from Garden Smart. Serves 4.

Fresh Okra Tomato  Corn Sauté with Diced Ham and Peppers_0115 E (1 of 1)_360Ingredients:

  • About 6 oz. ham, diced, such as Niman Ranch, available at our Redwood City store
  • 2 Tbsp. Sigona’s Fresh Press Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Mix it up! Try Sigona’s Basil Oil.)
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced okra (about 6 to 7 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell or sweet mini pepper, seeded
  • 1 cup fresh corn from the cob
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil or chives

Directions: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add the ham and sauté until ham has started to caramelize, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the sliced okra and chopped peppers to the ham. Season with salt and pepper; sauté for about 3 minutes. Stir in the corn and tomatoes, then reduce heat to low to allow the mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in the basil or chives and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Charred Okra with Tomatillos, Garlic and Sweet Peppers

This dish has a bit of a Thai twist to it, thanks to the lime zest and a splash of balsamic vinegar, believe it or not. Add in more or less crushed red pepper to your liking. Adapted from Cooking Light. Serves 4.

Charred Okra with Tomatillos Garlic and Sweet Peppers_0122 E (1 of 1)_360Ingredients:

Directions: Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add okra in a single layer; cook, without stirring, 3 minutes or until charred.

Stir in the shallot and julienned peppers; cook for two minutes or until lightly charred. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the tomatillo, balsamic and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute then remove from heat.

Stir in the butter, oregano, lime zest, salt and pepper. Serve.

Fried Okra and a Kickin’ Creamy Creole Dipping Sauce

We couldn’t give you okra and not include a recipe for frying it! You’ll love how the cornmeal gives the fried slices an extra crunch and flavor. Serves about 4 as an appetizer.

Fried Okra and a Kickin Creamy Creole Dipping Sauce_0119 E (1 of 1)_360Ingredients:

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 lb. fresh okra, sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces, tips and stems discarded
  • 4 to 6 cups oil, for frying
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp plain yogurt (preferably Greek, such as Fage)
  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • A couple shakes hot sauce, or to taste (we recommend Tabasco)
  • 2 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven to 350 degrees F. (Do not fill the pan more than halfway up the sides with oil.)

In a medium bowl, mix together all the dipping sauce ingredients. Scrape into a smaller serving bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, paprika, salt and pepper.

Pour buttermilk into a separate medium bowl.

Dip the okra in the buttermilk then toss it in the cornmeal mixture, placing coated pieces on a plate. Being careful, and working in batches if necessary, place the okra in the hot oil and cook until golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the fried okra and place on a paper-towel-lined sheet to drain.

Transfer okra to a serving tray and serve immediately, with the dipping sauce on the side.

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