Fish with 'Garden Fries' & Garden Salad

Okra, a garden vegetable that deserves rebranding

It’s no surprise when kids beg for gummi bears. But at the farmers market last year, a grade school-age girl pleaded, “Please, Mom, please. Let’s get some okra!”

Pity the poor okra, hers may be a fan club of one. Recognizing my surprise, the mother rolled her eyes and mouthed, “Fried okra,” then tucked large handfuls of fresh pods into a sack. I followed suit and came home to experiment.

For most of us, okra has an undeserved reputation for gummy texture. When okra pods are small and unblemished, they are not slimy and cook up quick-quick. Look for three-inch or shorter tips and cook them within 24 hours. Do trim off the tough stems but leave a slice of ‘cap’ intact to capture flavor and moisture.

Okra may need re-branding. From here on, the word ‘okra’ is banished in favor of the sweet simplicity that okra cooks into, familiar favorites like popcorn and fries. Only then will the okra fan club overflow with members, headed by a ten-year old president.

GARDEN POPCORN (Fried Okra) Cut trimmed okra cross-wise into half-inch lengths, then shake in a paper bag with cornmeal and seasoned salt. Fry in a shallow pool of hot peanut oil for 4 minutes, then scoop into a colander lined with paper towels. Season with salt, sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and enjoy while hot.
ALANNA's TIPS An olive oil mister makes it easy to control both the oil’s quality and its quantity. Pick one up for $10-$15 at a kitchen store.
Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. What’s on the menu when supper is cooked in 30 minutes? Send a favorite combination to e-mail.


Summer bounty on a plate
Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 4
    GARDEN FRIES (Roasted Okra)
  • Olive oil or cooking spray
  • 1 pound small fresh okra, trimmed
  • Salt & pepper

  • 1 pound good tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bulb fresh fennel, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon good vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chive
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel

  • FISH
  • 4 filets (1 pound) mild, white fish
  • Ground fennel
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

FRIES Set oven to 450F. Spritz a baking sheet with olive oil or cooking spray. Add okra in single layer and spritz again. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven, even if not yet heated. Roast about 25 minutes or until browning, stirring occasionally.

SALAD Mix ingredients. Set aside.

FISH Rub both sides with fennel, salt and pepper. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet til shimmery. Add fish and cook til done, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plates, top with salad, serve with okra.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving (whole meal): 276Cal; 28g Protein; 11g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 18g Carb; 7g Fiber; 112mg Sodium; 36mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 5 points (4 points if oil is omitted from tomatoes)

My roasted okra 'garden fries' were entirely inspired by Fatfree Vegan Kitchen's roasted okra.

More Easy Fish Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Cornmeal Catfish with Warm Potato Salad Maple-Glazed Salmon Sole with Mushrooms & Onions
~ more fish recipes from Kitchen Parade ~

~ more fish & seafood recipes from A Veggie Venture, my food blog ~

More Okra Recipes

~ more okra recipes from my food blog, A Veggie Venture ~

Potato Okra Curry
Sautéed Okra & Garlic
Summer Vegetable Curry

Recent Favorites from A Veggie Venture

~ Caponata (Sicilian Eggplant), virtually no calories but packed with flavor, a summer classic ~
~ Tomato & Onion Salad with two quick tricks ~
~ Grilled Beets, Beans & Greens, an experiment with great results ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.

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I've always been too scared to try okra but fries and popcorn I like! What an inspiration, thank you, Alanna.
Fried okra is just gorgeous <3 They sell okra in my grocery store here in Canada, but it's always old, nasty okra that's probably been sitting around for four weeks because no one else will buy it. Alas for freshness...
I know what you mean, freshness is a requirement for okra. FYI, I expected to be unimpressed but this little girl, she got ME. Thanks to her, I love the fried okra! If only I knew who she is to thank her!
I too am a huge fan of fried okra - I would eat it three times a week if I could. I've never considered fixing it any other way, though I'm tempted by the "fries." I thought I'd share with you a dish I had last week in Colorado (fixed by a woman from Texas): Fried Okra Salad. She took fried okra, added chopped tomatoes and sliced green onions, and tossed it all with a sweet vinegar/oil dressing. I told her it was "weirdly good." I don't know if I'll ever make it, since I don't want to NOT eat fresh fried okra!
You know, I love okra, but never, ever make it. I think it is high time it makes a comeback in our kitchen :)

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna