This is a great way to showcase an abundance of summer okra. Because it is cooked whole, firm, tender pods on the smaller size work best.
Other herbs -- including parsley, thyme and basil -- also work well in this dressing. If you have any left over, drizzle it over a simple mixed lettuce salad or a plate of cucumbers and tomatoes. If the dressing thickens too much as it sits, add more buttermilk to thin it.
Make Ahead: The dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container a day or two in advance; it might need to be thinned with more buttermilk before serving. The okra is best served just after it's cooked.
Servings: 6 - 8
- 1 clove garlic
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup regular or low-fat mayonnaise (do not use nonfat)
- 1/4 cup whole or low-fat buttermilk, or more as needed
- 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 to 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 pound okra, tops trimmed off
- 1/4 cup minced chives
Pound the garlic with a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle, or mash it flat with the side of a knife, then mince (again using a pinch of salt to help break down the garlic).
Transfer the garlic to a medium bowl along with the mayonnaise, buttermilk and white pepper. Whisk until smooth.
Heat a wide, heavy skillet over medium heat. If it is nonstick, add 1 teaspoon of oil; otherwise, add 2 teaspoons of oil and swirl to coat. Once the oil shimmers, add half of the okra and sear for about 5 minutes, tossing occasionally, until it turns bright green, becomes tender and shows some char. Transfer to a platter.
Add the remaining oil (1 or 2 teaspoons, depending on the skillet); once the oil shimmers, add the remaining okra and toss to coat. Sear to the same degree of doneness, then transfer to the platter.
Taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning and/or consistency (with more buttermilk) as needed; stir in the chives.
Serve the okra warm, topped with buttermilk-chive dressing, or serve dressing on the side for dipping.
From Washington writer Emily C. Horton.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.