Okra gets a bad rap as a slimy, unpalatable vegetable whose only useful purpose on this earth is to thicken a gumbo. This could be farther from the truth - not only is okra flavorful and nutrient-rich, it is not too difficult to draw out the excess moisture before cooking, leaving a beautiful, firm texture. My kids eat this very simple dish enthusiastically, picking up the lovely caramelized pods with their fingers and eating them like fries.
1/2 pound fresh okra
1 tablespoon fine kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch crushed red pepper
1. Split okra lengthwise and place in medium-size bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and let stand for 15 minutes.
2. After the 15 minutes, place okra in a colander and rinse well with cold water. Blot to dry well on all sides and set aside.
3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place okra, cut side down in the pan in a single layer and sear for 3-4 minutes, being careful not to let the pan burn (turn the heat down to medium if necessary). Turn over and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from the pan and place the okra on a platter or plate, cut side up. Repeat with as many batches as necessary to cook all of the okra.
4. Drizzle the okra with the lemon juice and sprinkle the crushed red pepper all over. Drizzle with more olive oil if desired. This is delicious served warm or at room temperature.