Monday, August 06, 2012

A Delicious Summer Breakfast Featuring Okra.

So I'm going to reveal to you that back in fall of 2008 I was a Brooklynguy who practiced home-pickling. I found, though, that I was unable to grow a good looking soul patch, or really any facial hair that looks normal. I grew a mustache once as part of a Halloween costume but it freaked people out, they said I looked like a porn star. 86 the mustache, they said, and so I did. So clearly I should not be pickling vegetables at home either. But there was a time when I was doing some pickling. Okra, even.

What's also funny about the post I linked to above is that there is mention of essentially the same okra recipe I'm going to share today. It's the simplest of recipes - the important thing is that you use good ingredients. You are braising okra in a sauce of fresh tomatoes and garlic. And then creating a beautiful weekend breakfast by topping this with a sunny side-up egg. There are variables you can play with here. I like to use a jalapeno pepper in the braising sauce, but you can play with heat, or leave it out. You can use wine in the tomatoes, or not. You can season the braising liquid with anything you like, although I find that with super good ingredients, you don't need much. 

Okra is at the markets now, and you should try this - it's delicious and quite healthy:

Wash the okra and trim the stem so that a centimeter or less remains. Put some music on - I think that Coltrane Live in Stockholm works well here, but you can go with Giant Steps too. You can use good canned tomatoes, but 'tis tomato season. I like to use fresh plum tomatoes, but last weekend I used a smaller variety of the same shape called Juliettes. Use good tomatoes - that's what's most important. Chop the tomatoes coarsely. Use a mortar and pestle to make a paste of a very large clove of garlic. In a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, using olive oil or neutral oil to your taste, cook the tomatoes until they begin to break down a little, stirring a lot, maybe 5 minutes. Add the garlic paste and some salt. Stir some more.

Add the okra and stir to coat them with the tomato sauce. Here I like to add a fresh jalapeno pepper that I've poked with a fork so that its flavors will easily seep out into the sauce. Stir some more, turn down the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer, stirring a few times, until the okra are as tender as you want them to be. You will have something that looks like this (although you can stop the simmer 8 minutes earlier and have firmer okra, also amazing):

You can do anything with this. Eat it as a side dish, put it on rice, put it between your knees (a prize to whoever gets that film reference). For me, it has become breakfast.

Fry an egg and put it right on top. A hunk of baguette too.

I especially like it when the egg is all broken up and merges with the somewhat gooey okra and tomato. You know what - this dish isn't for you. Just forget about the whole thing.

Now, drinking wine on a weekend morning is a bad thing to do, because it's the morning time and we shouldn't drink in the morning. So I really cannot recommend a wine to pair with this because as I've explained already, it's breakfast and we don't drink wine on an August Saturday morning with okra stew and fried egg. But if, however, you were to ask me from a theoretical perspective, what wine it is that I would recommend to the type of scallywag who actually would drink wine in this situation... I would say that a good Fino, perhaps the basic Emilio Hidalgo Fino ($14 for a 750, imported by Winebow) is a great match. This is purely hypothetical, of course.


Dan said...

Just to amp it up a notch, I do think this would pair brilliantly with a chicken salad sandwich, hold the mayo, the lettuce, and the chicken. But what do I know--as you say, this dish isn't really for me.

Brooklynguy said...

So very well played, Dan. Very impressive indeed.

Anonymous said...

Okra for breakfast? Ho-ho-ho. Another April Fool's Day post, even more brilliant in it not being April Fools Day. Totally had me again!

Ale said...

So, what was the movie??? I googled and searched, but to no avail (unless you were referencing or

Brooklynguy said...

The film is Five Easy Pieces, and was quoted by Dan in the first comment here.