Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl's Top 5 Modern Okra Recipes

The humble southern food has found a new identity!

Off The Menu with Dara Grumdahl
November 01, 2019 - 3:51 pm

(Getty Images / Wanhao Cai)

No consideration of American food would be complete without okra—it made its way here from Africa in the 1700’s, sometime before the American Revolution, and in the subsequent years it’s found a new identity.  I do realize it’s a lot of people’s most hated food, because it can get slimy, but it’s also a superfood, full of antioxidants and fiber, and if you do it right it’s not slimy! It’s good. Give okra a new look! How? Like this.

RELATED: See all of Dara's Top 5 Lists here!

Limpin’ Susan
As all-American as hoppin’ John, Limpin’ Susan is basically a highly seasoned rice dish, full of okra and bacon. It’s a good pot-luck dish, too, and can hold up for a long time—maybe it belongs at your Thanksgiving? 

Emeril’s Gumbo of Okra, Shrimp, and Tomatoes
The New Orleans classic of gumbo is the ultimate melting pot food—add a little African, a little native American in the file powder, a little French, a little Spanish, a little Caribbean, and you’re most of the way there. The version Emeril made for Oprah is both simple and good:

Okra Lemon Pickles
Fancy contemporary chefs have been doing a lot with okra in the pickle and almost-fresh world. Food and Wine magazine had a great recipe for vinegar refrigerator pickles with chili and lemon—when they’re done, you can add them to salads, or ham sandwiches, or just put them on a cheeseboard to surprise everyone.

Corn, Peas, Okra, and Country Ham Skillet
Take a skillet, throw in some frozen corn, frozen peas, good ham, and okra, and you’re on the way to a really easy Southern cream gravy farm dinner. I really love these simple farmhouse type recipes, they are just what a good life is made from.

Lemon-Marinated Okra
Okra doesn’t show up much on a crunchy veggie platter, or on a meat-board, but this Italian approach changes that—it takes about three days to macerate the okra with the lemons and garlic and everything, but when it’s done, you can just pile it near some salami and feel very futuristic.  A great crunch snack!

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