I am a lover of okra. I love them in gumbo, fried, or pickled. Having not eaten okra until I was a teenager and had my first trip to New Orleans, I used to think that they were a delicacy or hard to find. Low and behold, they’re fresh and frozen at my own workplace. I would cook them all the time if I could, but Alex hates them. Perhaps it’s the weird, large seeds they contain or the slightly fuzzy texture. Perhaps it’s fact that they tend to get gooey when you cut them, but whatever it is, I never realized how many people hate okra until I talked about making this recipe.
Despite all of the hatred, I think this is delicious. I was first introduced to smothered okra at a tiny New Orleans restaurant called Dunbar’s. This family owned restaurant moved on to my college campus after Hurricane Katrina flooded their restaurant. Their menu is filled with New Orleans specialties like fried chicken and jambalaya, so it seemed strange yet delightful to find a vegetable-centered item available. It soon became my favorite and, having left New Orleans, I’m glad that it’s so easy to make.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 pound bag of okra, frozen
1 16-ounce can chopped tomatoes or 1/2 lb fresh tomatoes, chopped
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until softened and the onion starts to turn clear. Add the remaining ingredients. Cook for 10 minutes. If using fresh tomatoes, cook a little longer until the they have broken down a bit. Serve as a side dish or over rice.