Make guests say ‘oh’ with okra, corn, zucchini

Published 12:48 am Saturday, August 21, 2010

It is hard to believe that it is near the end of August. Where did the summer go?
I try at this time of year to find some more interesting things to do with the vegetables still in the garden. I call this time the endless summer, when the heat just does not go away but the vegetables keep coming. I have tried these new ways with okra, zucchini and corn. They are refreshing and easy to do.
This is one my husband keeps asking for repeats:

Okra with Scallion, Lime and Ginger
From Gourmet, September 2009
Serves 4

1 lb. small to medium okra, trimmed, leaving tops and tips
1 cup chopped scallions (about 1 bunch)
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 (2-by 1-inch) piece peeled ginger, cut into very thin matchsticks
Lime wedges

Steam okra in a steamer over boiling water, covered until just tender, about 7 minutes.
Transfer to a serving dish.
Cook scallions in oil with ¼ tsp salt in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring just until softened, 1 to 3 minutes.
Pour over okra and toss with ginger. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over okra.

The next dish is a side Greek dish using okra and a tomato sauce. This is taken from Saveur, May 2010.

Stewed Okra
From Bon Appétit, August 2010

1 lb. okra
2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
1 onion, grated
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, puréed with their liquid
5 tbsp. minced flat-leafed parsley
½ tsp. sugar
3 thin lemon slices, rind removed
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Trim stems from okra without puncturing pods; rub cut ends with 2 tsp. salt and transfer okra to a strainer. Let sit for 30 minutes. Put 3 cups water and 1 tbsp. lemon juice into a bowl, add okra and stir; drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a 12” skillet over medium heat. Add onions; cook, until soft and golden, about 6 minutes. Add puréed tomatoes, parsley, sugar, and lemon slices. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Add reserved okra; stir gently. Top okra with tomato slices and cook, covered stirring, until tender, 15-20 minutes. Season okra with salt and pepper.

Shaved Zucchini Salad with Parmesan and Pine Nuts
Taken from Bon Appétit, August 2010
6 servings

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 pounds medium zucchini, trimmed
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
Small wedge of Parmesan cheese
Whisk oil, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper and crushed red pepper in small bowl to blend. Set dressing aside.
Using vegetable peeler or V-slicer and working from top to bottom of each zucchini, slice zucchini into ribbons about 1/16 inch thick). Place ribbons in large bowl. Add basil and nuts, then the dressing; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Using vegetable peeler, shave strips from Parmesan wedge over salad.

Summer Corn Sauté with Tons of Herbs
6 servings

¼ cup (1/2 stick butter)
1 large shallot, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
6 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 9 large ears)
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped assorted fresh herbs (such as basil, cilantro, chives and parsley)
½ cup chopped fresh dill
¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cumin seeds. Sauté until shallot is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add corn kernels, 1 teaspoon coarse salt and ¾ teaspoon pepper. Sauté until corn is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in all herbs. Season to taste with salt.
Transfer corn to bowl and serve.