Saturday, June 26, 2010
I’m always looking for that perfect summer side dish: the one that goes with almost every meal and takes very little effort to prepare. This summer, I’ve found it. It’s easy, delicious, and showcases some of summer’s best and freshest ingredients. Some may wrinkle their noses at first, but try it once and you’ll be hooked for good.
The following recipe is so simple; it takes a handful of inexpensive ingredients. Of the utmost importance is the freshness of the ingredients. If at all possible, make sure your corn, tomatoes, and okra are field-fresh and ripe. To test the freshness of corn, peel back a little of the husk and dig your fingernail into a kernel. It should pop and ooze a milky liquid if it’s fresh. Tomatoes should be bright red (on the vine, not hothouse) with few blemishes or soft spots. Okra should be bright green and plump. Select the smallest pods from the batch.
The best thing about this recipe is that it accompanies everything, from sausages to steaks, chicken to lamb. I’ve been known to just eat a bowl of it for dinner, it’s that delicious. You could add minced scallions and chopped jalapenos to the first sauté step, but I prefer it without. Try it next weekend for a 4th of July cookout!
Corn, Okra and Tomato Sauté
1 large green bell pepper, coarsely chopped (optional)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound tomatoes, coarsely chopped (don’t worry about peeling them)
3 cups corn (from 5 to 6 ears)
1/2 pound small fresh okra, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
a squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper
Cook bell pepper in oil and butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 7 to 9 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until broken down into a sauce, about 15 minutes. Add corn and okra and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 15 minutes. Season with lemon juice, and lots of freshly ground salt and pepper.