Strike one more vegetable off my, “I really, really, REALLY need to learn how to like this repellent green thing” list. Okra, oh delicious, mysterious, oddly viscous, okra — so long have you been out of my reach, beyond my culinary ken. I’ve had you fried, steamed, and gumbo’d, but still, you did not convince me of your deliciousness.

Catherine did.

Even more amazing than my about-face on this newly in season veggie is how simple her recipe is; just slice the fuzzy hexagons and saute. Nothing fancy. When I saw Catherine pull her okra out of the fridge — already sliced — I interrogated her. “Is that necessary? A sort of resting in the fridge to dry out the slime before cooking? It makes it crispier?” She looked at me. “No, it was just easier to have them sliced before you came over.” Oh.

Just tonight, I tried to replicate Catherine’s easier than easy recipe. Sensing the sizzle-pop was over and delicious okra was soon to follow, my husband wandered into the kitchen and found me staring at my pile of okra. “I don’t think I did it right. It looks overcooked.” I reached out and sadly plucked a slice out of the green mound and sampled it. It definitely wasn’t as crispy as Catherine’s. My husband plucked out a slice of his own. “It’s great!” he assured me. The perfectionist in me didn’t believe him. But I plucked out another slice. And another. And another.

Without any utensils or even sitting down, the two of us consumed the entire mass of salty okra in about two minutes. I will not stop in my quest to get my okra Catherine-perfect, but it does appear that even the less than perfect stuff is furiously addicting.

I’m not worried. I have all summer to figure it out.

Okra, O.K.! 2 July,2012Stephanie Lucianovic

  • Catherine Nash

    Mmm, okra. I’m so glad I’ve made a convert of you! When I was a kid, it was the one vegetable that us kids fought over to get seconds and there was never enough. I’m sure your version was perfect. I’ve found it’s key to crisp it up first, then put on the top to cook it through without burning, then take off the top and crisp it again. Plus, loads of salt. Mmm!

  • Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic

    I think it could replace popcorn.


    Well I’ve never really been a big fan of the stuff. When I was a kid, I don’t think I would go near ocra, wait, okra, okay. Well, maybe its time to see if I like it…

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Stephanie Lucianovic

A former picky eater, Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is a writer, editor, and lapsed cheesemonger in the San Francisco Bay Area. A culinary school grad with an English lit degree, she has written for,, Popular Science, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. Additionally, she has been writing for KQED’s Bay Area Bites since its inception and is the website editor for KQED’s Emmy-award winning show “Check, Please! Bay Area.”

Stephanie was an original recapper at Television Without Pity and worked on a line of cookbooks for William-Sonoma as well as in the back kitchen of a Jacques Pépin cooking show. Her first book, SUFFERING SUCCOTASH: A Picky Eater’s Quest To Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate (Perigee Books, 2012) is a non-fiction narrative and a heartfelt and humorous exposé on the inner lives of picky eaters that Scientific American called “hilarious” and “the perfect popular science book for a reader that doesn’t think he or she wants to read a popular science book.”

Stephanie lives in Menlo Park with her husband, three-year-old son, assorted cats, and has been blogging at The Grub Report for over a decade.

Follow her on Twitter at @grubreport

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