The key to turning chef Ari Miller’s tender okra during peak season into a crispy, chip-like snack is a hot cast iron pan. The okra pods will be more tender if you roast them before searing. It also helps to dry the surface of the pods for better crisping. Miller insists that the dish be served with chopsticks or as finger food – no forks.
Food & Wine Test Kitchen Notes
Preheat the skillet thoroughly to quickly char the surface of the Okra, not slowly steam it, for the crispiest texture. To ensure even heating and avoid crowding, use a large cast iron skillet. A squeeze of citrus juice, a handful of tender herbs, and a sprinkle of flaky salt are all that is needed to finish this irresistible treat.
Parsley, mint, and dill are used to add a fresh flavor that complements the mildly earthy, sweet Okra. Lemon and orange juice add brightness to this dish without making the Okra soggy. Small, bite-sized okra pods are usually more tender than large pods.
- Two pounds of small fresh Okra. Trimmed and cut in half.
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- One tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
- One tablespoon of fresh orange juice
- 1/2 a cup of loosely mixed fresh herb (such as parsley, mint, and dill), ripped into large pieces
- Flaky Sea Salt (such as Jacobsen), for taste
- Orange slices for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place racks in upper third and lower third positions. Spread the Okra in an even layer on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. The Okra should be baked in a preheated oven for 16 minutes or until it is tender. Rotate the baking sheets every 8 minutes between the top and bottom racks. Let the Okra sit for 5 minutes.
- Preheat a large cast iron skillet on high heat until it is very hot. Pour 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil into the pan and swirl it around to coat the bottom. Sprinkle 3/4 teaspoon of kosher sea salt over the half Okra. Stir to coat. Stir and shake the pan occasionally while cooking the Okra until it is charred deeply in some spots. This should take 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the Okra into a serving dish. Repeat this process using 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil, the remaining Okra, and 3/4 teaspoon of kosher sea salt.
- Pour the remaining one tablespoon of oil, lemon juice, and orange juice over the Okra. To taste, sprinkle on a mixture of tender herbs and flaky salt. Orange slices can be garnished.