One of our favorite summer vegetables is okra. In summer, I can’t get enough. Did you know you can grill okra? I’m here to show you how to grill okra.
Knowing how to grill okra is easy ~ probably the easiest way to enjoy this summer favorite.
Have I told you before that I love farmer’s markets? I definitely do. There is something special about shopping and buying produce from local growers and supporting small farmers. Not to mention the better produce that is home~grown and sometimes picked early the morning you buy it, instead of harvested days ahead, time spent in refrigerated trucks and traveling 100’s, if not thousands, of miles across country ~ or from another country.
We are fortunate to have dozens of farmer’s markets in the Dallas area. Our largest is downtown and a few years ago the city has recently spent millions renovating it; it’s now more user friendly for both shoppers and growers.
In our area, most produce comes from areas east and south of Dallas. To qualify as local, produce has to be grown within 150 miles. Some growers are organic, some are not, but I’ve come to trust these growers and their methods.
Summer is the time to take advantage of local produce. A recent farmer’s market visit led to making delicious grilled okra for dinner. Don’t know how to grill okra? You don’t know what you are missing.
How to Grill Okra from the Farmer’s Market
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Saturday is the day that I shop at one of our local Farmer’s Markets. On this Saturday I headed to the Dallas Farmers Market. It was busy with local area growers and food items created by local foodies: honey, pickles, baked goods, artisan breads, cheeses, grass~fed meat, and eggs.
I was on a mission; I needed tomatoes, corn, and peaches, and, of course, okra. Sometimes my eyes are bigger than what we need so I really try to stick to my mental shopping list. Or shop until I run out of cash ~ which happens often.
The okra is for dinner. I wanted okra to take to a Saturday night cookout at the home of our friends M~~~ and W~~~~. They had never grilled okra (W~~~~ is from upstate New York, so she didn’t grow up with okra.) so I wanted to show them how to grill okra and how good it is. And I’m going to show you how too.
These boxes of okra looked really fresh and just~picked.
The peaches are for a galette that I’m planning to make this week.
There was no corn available, but the blueberries looked delicious so I bought one pint. We love to eat them out of hand for breakfast.
W~~ asked me to pick up a couple of heirloom tomatoes for her.
Do you like round zucchini? These are called 8~balls and come in small and large.
And the watermelon looked sweet and a sample taste proved them just so.
How about round watermelon?
Grilling okra is so easy.
First, always look for soft, 2 ~3-inch long okra. Touch them, squeeze them. If they are hard, don’t buy. They will be tough and fibrous ~ these are the ones that give okra a bad reputation. The vender assured me they had been picked that morning. If your okra have a few spots on them, don’t worry. They will be fine after grilling. These little ones will be tender.
Place your okra in the refrigerator when you get home and leave until you are ready to prep.
Place the okra in a colander and give them a spray to remove any dish or debris. I pat dry with a paper towel.
Then trim the okra by slicing off the caps on the diagonal. Sometimes, if the tips are a little brown, I’ll slice that off also.
Place the okra in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and toss the okra with the olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Sweet Shark grilled the okra, using our vegetable grill pan. (Amazon calls this a pizza grill pan, but I’ve never used it for that.) This pan is perfect for grilling vegetables, like asparagus, that might fall through the grates of the grill. It’s also good for shrimp and small pieces of fish or meat. You do not have to preheat the grill pan. The handle detaches for easy storage. It’s easy to clean, too.
If you don’t have a grill pan like this one, use an oven~proof skillet ~ cast iron is perfect ~ and use that on the grill. You can set the cast iron skillet on the grill to get really hot before you add the okra.
It takes about 10 minutes on a hot grill to cook and char the okra. Shake your grill pan occasionally to turn the okra and distribute the heat around the okra. That’s all it takes. The grilled okra is great with any summer food. Or eat it as an appetizer while the rest of the food is cooking. It’s perfect finger food.
See the brown spots on the okra? That’s what you are looking for.
We had a wonderful meal with our friends. W~~~~ loved the grilled okra and said that now that she knows how to grill okra, she will be doing it the rest of the summer.
You might also want to try this wonderful recipe for okra and summer tomatoes.