Oven-roasted okra

Are you getting tired of okra yet? We aren’t. As Southern as you may be, I’ll bet you have never had “just okra.” We hadn’t until Julie’s brother Andy gave us two tickets to Outstanding in the Field. Please go Google them now. Jim Denevan has put together the most amazing experience. Jim pairs local farmers with local chefs throughout the country to bring restaurant patrons to the source of their food. As opposed to “Farm to table,” this organization brings the table to the farm.

Our dinner was at Love Is Love Farm in Douglasville, Georgia. We toured the farm at the side of Joe Reynolds and Judith Winfrey, the couple hired to manage the farm. They were the masterminds behind some pretty incredible vegetables, and simply the nicest people. That evening, we were treated to our first-ever spiced oven-roasted okra at the talented hands of Chef Kevin Gillespie (Top Chef finalist). No slimy texture as can sometimes be the case with okra! The following week, we tried our own variation of these tasty morsels, and the recipe has been a staple in our house ever since.

The only sad part about the day was that it was rather rainy outside, and within forty-eight hours of this amazing farm tour and dinner, the very land we toured under umbrellas was five feet underwater with the worst flooding that had hit Atlanta in over 100 years.

We are happy to report that Judith and Joe are back on their feet, now managing Gaia farms in Atlanta, and they are still producing some of the most amazing vegetables in the greater Atlanta area. For a unique “table on the farm” experience, check out the listings for Outstanding in the Field and try to get out to support some of these awesome farmers growing your food!

1 pound (450 g) okra (whole), washed
¼ cup (60 mL) olive oil
2 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C).
  2. Toss okra in olive oil to coat and place onto a sheet pan in a single layer.
  3. Combine all dry spices and sprinkle over okra, mixing well.
  4. Bake for 5–7 minutes and turn over onto the other side. Place the okra back in the oven for another 3–5 minutes or until pods are softened.

Ingredient Notes—When shopping for good okra, take your thumb and pop the small tip off the okra. If it pops off, the okra is good. If it bends and doesn’t snap, then you know it is a bad one.