grilled okra with paprika-shallot dip

I've never been a fan of okra.  I associate it with being extremely soggy and served up in the dining commons at college.  I never quite understood by the staff thought a bunch of California kids would enjoy soggy okra.  Seemed to me like they mine as well have thrown money down the drain.

Since moving to Virginia I've heard of people having it fried with Old Bay.  Clearly this has the potential to be good.  I'm not into frying everything though so when I saw this recipe in Fine Cooking it seemed worth trying.  It also seemed like yet another fun addition to the menu for Benjamin's birthday.  We ended up cooking these up as an appetizer and they quickly got devoured.  The sauce was then later used as a spread on the burgers which made them all the more amazing.

I think next time I see okra in the store and we're having a barbecue I'll snatch some up to grill them up and make this delicious sauce.  It's a fun finger food and great appetizer and in our case one that was eaten while the okra was nice and hot straight from the grill.

{Recipe thanks to Fine Cooking}

{Ingredients You'll Need}
  • 1 lb. small okra pods
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 medium shallot grated- to become about 2 Tablespoons
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. paprika (smoked paprika if you have it)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper 
1.  Prepare your grill.  Okra stays crunchy when it is grilled at a high heat and isn't touching one another when grilled.

2.  Wash your okra then cut the stems lengthwise about 3/4 of the way up to the top.  Toss the okra with the oil and about 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

3.  In a bowl combine the sour cream through crushed red pepper.  Set aside.

4.  Grill the okra, flipping once, until the pods are charred, about 5 minutes.  Transfer them to a platter and serve with the sauce.

TIP!  If you keep the pods separate from one another they won't get soggy- steam from the hot okra all atop one another can result in soggy pods, and nobody wants that!

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