Food & Wine (September 2010)
As we mentioned last week, corn is everywhere right now. It's so fresh and tasty and in peak season, we just can't pass up buying it at the farmers market. So our fridge is jam-packed with big ears of sweet corn.
It's a corn avalanche! A corn flood! (If we were really lame, we might call it a corn-ucopia. But we'd never do that. That would be corn-y.)
Anyway, it's death by corn, and we're loving every minute.
Oftentimes, the simplest way to prepare something is the best. Such is the case with this Pan-Roasted Corn and Okra. It's a suspiciously simple recipe -- sauté corn and okra; serve -- but the results will blow you away.
The most complicated part of this recipe is that prior to pan-roasting, the corn needs to be boiled for three minutes and then cut off the cob. So needless to say, it's not very complicated. Heat a heavy skillet until it is very hot. Sear the okra, remove it to a plate. Sear the corn, and toss it with the okra. That's it!
One thing that made this recipe so successful is that we used a cast-iron skillet and got it as hot as we could. While this would still taste good in a metal saucepan, there's something about cast-iron that imparts a really fantastic flavor to the vegetables. And since cast-iron tends to get hotter on the stove than other pans, you get a terrific char on the vegetables that really makes them amazing.
The corn tastes sweet and smoky, and almost like popcorn. And the okra was outstanding. We've said in the past that when people say they don't like okra, it's just because they've never had it fried. But we think we have to amend that. This side dish is sure to bring any okra-hater around.
Anyway: fresh corn, okra straight from the farm, salt and oil. What else do you need this summer?
6 ears of corn, shucked
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
2 pounds okra, trimmed and halved lengthwise
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn just until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and cool under running water. Pat the corn dry and, working over a bowl, cut the kernels from the cobs.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle until very hot and brush lightly with oil. In a bowl, toss the okra with 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil and season with salt. Cook the okra in batches over high heat, turning once, until charred and tender, 3 minutes per batch. Transfer the okra to a platter.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the corn kernels, season with salt and toss to coat. Add the corn to the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred in spots, about 3 minutes. Add the corn to the okra and toss. Serve hot or at room temperature.MAKE AHEAD: The corn and okra can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 hours.