Creole Tomatoes with Okra

Fresh okra

Okra is a vegetable that arguably requires an acquired taste. I learned to appreciate it pickled or fried while traveling through the South, as well as when it is combined with tomatoes, as in this classic Creole recipe. The acidity of the tomatoes seems to temper that unusual texture that us Yankees are so wary of.

Serves: 6

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound fresh tender okra, stemmed and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 pound ripe juicy tomatoes
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Leaves from a few sprigs fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  • Pinch of allspice or nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Hot cooked rice, optional

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and sauté over low heat until lightly golden,  a minute or so.

Add the okra and sauté, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. then cover and simmer gently  for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are reduced to a sauce.

If the mixture becomes too watery, simmer, uncovered, just until it thickens up a bit. Serve at once as a side dish on its own or over hot cooked rice.

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