Okra Cookhouse & Cocktails grills its namesake veggie to smokey perfection.

Grilled Okra

Written by Marilyn Hawkes Category: Veg Out Issue: January 2017
Group Free

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

Okra Cookhouse & Cocktails
5813 N. Seventh St., Phoenix
602-296-4147, okraaz.com