Sheet Pan Roasted Okra
When okra comes into season there is no need to coat it with breading and fry in oil. Let the true flavor come to life by slicing lengthwise or into thirds or however you like, then tossing with olive oil, and a pinch of salt - not much - and roast at 400 degrees on a sheet pan until browned and tender.
Season at the end of the roasting process - this is important. Salting ahead of time tends to over-salt the vegetable, as salt magnifies in flavor when roasting. So I will add a pinch of sea salt when tossing with olive oil, then taste the okra when they come out of the oven. If they need more salt, you can add it. And add minced onion if you like to add a sweet caramelized contrast. Add halved cherry tomatoes at the end for that wonderful okra-tomato marriage. Just make sure to cook at a high enough heat so the okra browns and then run a metal spatula under it and transfer it to a platter for pre-dinner snacking or to accompany steaks and mashed potatoes.
And if you’re feeling fancy, add a handful of chopped fresh parsley or basil to the finished dish to dress it up, and grate over some nice Manchego cheese as an intentional way to season and garnish - ways we can rethink the way we cook veggies!
SHEET PAN ROASTED OKRA RECIPE:
Makes: 6 to 8 servings | Prep: 10 to 12 minutes | Cook: 10 to 13 minutes
1 pound small to medium okra
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced onion, if desired
Pinch of Creole seasoning
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
3 springs of fresh thyme, if desired
Salt and pepper to taste
Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Trim the stem end cap from the okra. If okra are small, leave them whole. If they are medium to large in size, slice in half lengthwise or cut them on the diagonal into two to three pieces. Place the okra in a large mixing bowl, and toss with the oil, onion, and the Creole seasoning. Turn the mixture onto a rimmed half sheet pan, and spread out the okra so that it is in one layer. Place the pan in the oven.
Roast the okra until it just begins to turn brown around the edges, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the pan, and add the thyme if desired. Continue to roast until the okra is turning golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove the pan from the oven, and season with salt and pepper while warm.