- Emily Legener
- fresh okra at Two Boroughs Larder
If you're an okra fan, you've probably noticed the crop this year has been especially tasty. But, alas, it's reaching its last days. While we love it fried too, okra is a versatile vegetable, and chefs are working it into a variety of dishes at restaurants around town. Here are a few you can find this weekend.
Butcher & Bee is serving up a super simple seared okra this weekend. Added to some sweet corn and tomato, the veg only gets a little butter, salt, and pepper. For brunch, this medley is sometimes topped with a poached egg, which makes for what the B&B guys call a "righteous" combo. They recommend an equally savory dish to go along with the okra side. This weekend get them with the fish and grits, when the catch is a local beeliner snapper.
The Macintosh is grilling okra to serve with their sweetbread starter, which comes alongside housemade bacon and a Sultana jam. Add a smoked sungold tomato puree and you have a smoky, fiery flavor combination. The Mac is also using the vegetable in their summer succotash side, where okra is simmered with heirloom tomatoes, field peas, and sweet onion.
Fat Hen has added okra to their sauté of local vegetables served with their daily catch. This week, the restaurant has rotated between grilled mahi mahi and swordfish. The okra is joined by fingerling potatoes, roasted tomatoes, and corn, sourced from both Blackburn and Ambrose farms.
Better act fast to catch the vegetable at The Grocery. This week, Chef Kevin Johnson has featured okra in the summer farro salad on the side of the beef short ribs, but the dish will probably run out tonight.
Two Boroughs Larder is using the more rare burgundy okra as a side found in the local section of the menu. Sous chef Kevin Getzewich says they stew heirloom Juliet tomatoes with garlic and harissa powder and then puree with sweated onions, serving over roasted okra with bread crumbs sprinkled on top. Getzewich recommends getting it with the N.C. rainbow trout, which is also making an appearance this weekend. The brightly colored fish is seared and served with a toasted hazelnut brown butter and purslane, a tender succulent.
And, if you just want some good ol' country cooking, head to Bertha's Kitchen for the legendary lady's okra soup. With a recipe that has been passed down for generations, Bertha's daughter continues the tradition and makes the soup fresh every day. Okra swims in a rich broth that gets its flavor from simmering ham and tomato. The soup can be served over rice or with cornbread on the side — because, honestly, what more do you need?