Seared Okra with Ground Cherries, Garlic and Lemon
Updated: Oct 8, 2020
Middle: ground cherries wrapped in husks
Okra is a favorite vegetable of my family, so when I see or hear of a different cooking method, I jump on the chance to try it out. I am inspired by the innovative Yotam Ottolenghi and so many of his edible creations. His book Jersusalem offers a uniquely flavorful okra recipe that fascinated me. I became infatuated and consumed with this okra recipe, eagerly attempting many versions until I found a version with ground cherries that completely captivated me. I newly discovered ground cherries at the farmer's market and became intrigued with the tropical mango-pineapple-like flavors. I became convinced after experimenting with the yellow tomato-like fruits in various salad recipes, the seared okra, garlic and lemon together with the sweet addition of ground cherries would cause the tastebuds to explode with irresistible deliciousness. If ground cherries are not available, cherry tomatoes can always be substituted, but I highly recommend making this recipe when the sweet fruits are in season. The seared okra recipe is best enjoyed at room temperature as a side to grilled meat.
Most of the traditional middle eastern okra recipes I make tend to be in a tomato based sauce, so this recipe brings a new dimension to the possibilities of cooking with okra. I love Ottolenghi's daring combinations of herbs and spices, and the influence he has had over my creative decision-making in the kitchen. Be adventurous and try out this heavenly recipe!
10 ounces whole okra with stem removed, or cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil, more if needed
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 small heirloom tomatoes
½ cup ground cherries, remove from husks, wash and cut in half
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Wash and trim the okra pods by removing the stem so it does not expose the seeds.
2. Place a large frying pan over high heat and leave to for a few minutes. Add okra to pan to dry cook, occasionally stirring for about 4 minutes until okra forms dark blisters.
3. Add the olive oil, garlic, and lemon zest to the okra. Stir fry for a few minutes, shaking the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and add the tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of water, the chopped parsley and coriander, lemon juice and ½ teaspoon of salt and some ground pepper. Stir gently not to break the tomatoes and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes are warmed through.