As we enter into November, I have exciting news – I’m just about done with developing and photographing recipes for my next cookbook! I’ve been at it for nearly two years straight – researching, testing, and retesting. I’m looking forward to moving to the next stage of the book-writing process, as I organize the contents, design the layout, and edit the manuscript. To be honest, editing is my favorite part of writing books; I like making small, incremental tweaks to refine my voice, and perfectly lining up every little element of the narrative.
So in celebration of moving on to the next (and arguably the most complicated) stage of the process, let’s enjoy this simple Greek stewed okra recipe. These okra fall into the lathera (λαδερά), or oil-based, dishes commonly found among Greek home chefs – simple to prepare, but packed with flavor. This dish works well as a hearty side, but really shines during Lent or other fasts, since it is remarkably filling thanks to its generous helping of olive oil.
Stewed Okra in Tomato Sauce – Bamies Latheres me Domata (Gluten-free, Paleo, Primal, Whole30, Perfect Health Diet, Vegetarian, Vegan)
1 1/2 lbs okra, tops and tips trimmed
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil, more to drizzle
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup diced)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 ripe tomatoes, grated (about 2 cups grated), or 1 (15oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 small handful parsley stems, tied together
1 tsp salt, more to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper, more to taste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 pinch ground cloves
1. In a mixing bowl, combine the okra, vinegar, and salt; toss to combine, then soak for 30 minutes, tossing the okra every 10 minutes, then drain in a colander and pay dry with paper towels. This step is said to reduce the sliminess of the okra, and helps accent the okra’s earthy flavor.
2. Warm the oil in a dutch oven or deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 6 minutes, then stir in the garlic and saute until aromatic, about 1 minute. Stir in the okra, tomatoes, parsley stems, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, allspice, and cloves and bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the okra is tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Fish out the parsley stems and discard, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature, drizzled with more olive oil.
Note: In the year leading up to my new cookbook’s release, I will be regularly releasing these recipes to 1) maintain a continuing conversation with my readership and 2) give visitors to this site an opportunity to test and provide feedback before editing. For more information on this new approach, read my post here.