If you count yourself among the folks who don’t like okra, we beg you to reconsider. In the right hands, the plump, green pods – sometimes reviled for their slimy texture – can be mighty tasty. Most menus feature okra breaded in cornmeal and fried, but chef/owner Cullen Campbell of Okra Cookhouse & Cocktails gives the Southern favorite a classy makeover, pairing his grilled okra ($6) with a tart goat cheese crème fraîche from local Crow’s Dairy.
Treating the dish “like a marinated artichoke,” Campbell first blanches the okra, then tosses it with olive oil, lemon juice, herbs and a splash of vinegar. After the pods marinate, Campbell throws them on the wood-fire grill for a slight char and smoky flavor. When marinated and combined with yogurt-like quark, the okra pops with a subtle, earthy flavor similar to eggplant. Campbell typically purchases the vegetable from local farmers, but he’s also growing a fledgling crop on the restaurant’s patio. “I always loved okra. My grandmother grew it in her garden, so we had it all the time,” he reminisces.
According to Campbell, he’s batting about .500 in terms of converting okra skeptics into okra lovers. So come on over to the winning team.
– Marilyn Hawkes
A pulled jackfruit po’ boy that fools. ...
Betty’s Nosh Mushroom Bar
“Something that people hadn’t heard of before.” ...
Korean Fried Cauliflower
At the Herb Box, vegetables play an important role on the menu, according to chef/owner Becky Windels. ...
The Original Chop Shop Co.
“We believe healthy people are happy people.” ...
Golden Vegetable Curry
FEZ restaurant’s curry is worth its weight in gold. ...