Summer time = lake time to me. My friends and I love to go wake boarding, tubing, swimming… basically anything that involves water and sunshine! Where I live there is this little restaurant on this lake that serves burgers, pizza, a lake fare type of thing. One of their menu items that probably doesn’t get as much publicity as it deserves is their fried okra. I mean I don’t know why, but it is perfect. Crispy, hot, and just… perfect. After a long day on the lake I usually have no problem stuffing my face with the deep fried goodness of it, but on a normal day all I can think about is how far I have to run if I eat this. Boo!
It wasn’t until I had this okra that I imagined there would be a healthy substitute. My mom had this at a dinner party, then recreated it at one of her dinner parties, then I recreated it for you. I have no idea where this recipe came from, but it is amazing and this is my version for you to try.
Okra and Walnuts
serves 4 as a side
1 pint okra, it seems like the smaller okra work better for this
1/2 cup diced red onion or shallot
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Prepare your okra by cutting the brown stem off the top of the okra and halving them lengthwise. Set aside with your diced red onion and walnuts. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over your peeled garlic clove and mince it. Leave you cherry tomatoes whole.
Heat a large nonstick saute pan over medium high heat and add 2 Tbsp. of olive oil. When hot add your diced onion and soften it for 4-5 minutes. You want it to get soft, but not too brown. Lower the heat slightly if you feel like it is cooking too fast. Add the garlic and saute another minute until fragrant.
Add the okra. You want to stir pretty consistently so the the okra browns all over. The trick is to get good color and a nice sear on it, but for it not to get slimy. I cooked mine about 7-8 minutes.
Add the walnuts and cooked them 2 more minutes to get them nice and toasty. Finally add your tomatoes and season with a little salt. Continue cooking another 2-3 minutes. taste and adjust seasoning then you are ready to serve. Enjoy!