Published in Carolina Country Magazine May 2021
Okra, how I do love thee.
When I was a little girl, my granddaddy would take me out to the garden where we’d pick a bowl of it and my grandma would boil it up. Add salt and butter. I’d pull those okra pods thru my teeth and get the seeds out then eat it. Had I not been introduced to that slimy stuff at such a young age by the man I adored, I may have never taken a chance. He left this world when I was just 8, but that is one memory I have of my Daddy Hocutt.
But I love it every which way. Crispy crunchy fried. Raw in salads. In pickles. Never met an okra I didn’t love.
It wasn’t that many years ago when I learned to roast it. I’ve roasted in the oven and on a baking sheet on the grill. And roasted is how to fix these Smoky Okra Fries! The high heat gives them a nice little crunch… finished off with a little salt and smoked paprika. They’re a fun change to serve instead of fries, especially in the summer when okra is so plentiful!
Keep your eyes open for fresh okra at your farmers’ market… pick up some smoked paprika if you don’t have that on hand… and you’ll be ready to roast.
Enjoy as a side… appetizer… a healthy snack for nibbling!
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Smoky Okra Fries with cinnamon honey drizzle
- 1 pound fresh okra, washed and dried well
- 3 tablespoons preferred oil (we used sunflower oil)
- smoked paprika
- Sea salt (I like crunchy flaky salt for this one)
- ½ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper (adjust to your heat level)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Slice okra in half lengthwise. Pile on baking sheet and toss with oil. Spread out so the fries are not crowded (this helps them roast and keeps them from steaming). Roast about 8 minutes, toss and continue roasting for another 5–8 minutes until nice and crisply browned.
- While the okra roasts, create the drizzle by combining honey, pepper and cinnamon in a bowl; set aside.
- Remove the fries from the oven and dust with paprika. Sprinkle with salt. Drizzle with the cinnamon honey.