Grilled Okra With Cajun Rémoulade
Okra is a popular item at robatayaki (grill) restaurants in Japan where the pods are pinned together with skewers into rafts. Turning rafts of okra (versus flipping individual pods) is the easiest way to grill them. Besides the charred smoky flavor grilling imparts to all vegetables, it also minimizes okra’s slime factor — boiled or stewed okra tends to become mucilaginous. This is useful for thickening gumbo, but it’s off-putting to many people who try to eat okra straight. In keeping with okra’s Louisianan associations, this formula calls for dusting the okra with Cajun seasoning before grilling and serving it with a rémoulade sauce for dipping or spooning on top.
- Serves: 6 persons
- Vegetable oil, for the grill grates
- 1pound okra (small pods are the most tender)
- 3tablespoons melted butter or extra-virgin olive oil
- Cajun or Creole seasoning or blackening spice mixture, for sprinkling
- ¾cup mayonnaise
- 3tablespoons Creole or Dijon mustard
- 1tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1tablespoon pickle juice (optional)
- 1teaspoon Tabasco or other Louisiana-style hot sauce, or to taste
- 1teaspoon pimentón (smoked paprika)
- 1teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 1tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Step 1Set up your grill for direct grilling and heat your grill to high (450 to 600 degrees). Brush or scrape the grill grate clean and oil it with a tightly folded paper towel dipped in vegetable oil and drawn across the bars of the grate with tongs.
Step 2Meanwhile, trim the very ends off the stems of the okra, but do not cut into the pods. Lay 4 to 6 okra pods side by side, alternating the positions of the heads and tails. Pin crosswise near the heads and tails with toothpicks or short metal or bamboo skewers to form rafts. If the bamboo skewers extend far beyond the okra, snip off the long ends of the skewers. Brush the okra rafts on both sides with melted butter and sprinkle with Cajun seasoning.
Step 3Make the rémoulade sauce: Place the mayonnaise in a mixing bowl and whisk in the mustard, horseradish, pickle juice (if using), hot sauce, pimentón, Cajun seasoning and chives. Transfer to 4 small serving bowls.
Step 4Arrange the okra rafts on the grate and grill (covered if you are using a gas grill), basting with any remaining butter and turning with tongs, until well browned on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes per side.
Step 5Transfer the okra to a platter or plates. Have each eater remove and discard the skewers and pick up the grilled okra with their fingers to dip in the rémoulade sauce.