Okra Sautéed with Tomatoes and Garlic alla Napoletana

okra okrapomodoro okra

The same way in which I made collard greens with raisins and pine nuts, using a traditionally Southern US vegetable with a traditionally Southern Italian recipe, I tried making okra in the same way that Neapolitans would fry peperoncini verdi, which are small sweet green peppers. My mother in law makes them in the summer and a few years ago she prepared sandwiches for us for a road trip we were taking through Switzerland to Holland to visit my family there. She made a special sandwich for me stuffed with these fried peppers. As we crossed over the Swiss border with Alpine lakes and snow covered peaks my mouth had been transferred to the Quartieri Spagnoli in Naples. It was one of the best things I had ever eaten. She had hollowed out a long sandwich roll and stuffed these guys in there. After a few hours the bread had soaked up the olive oil and it was perfectly soft with just the right amount of grease.


Not quite the same effect with the okra. I fried them up with a few stewed tomatoes, olive oil and garlic, in the same way I would make the peperonicini, but the okra didn’t soften in the same way and though they didn’t taste bad, they didn’t meet our expectations. We even tried hollowing out pieces of a baguette and stuffing them in there, but it was just a little too heavy and lacked that essential mush.

The next time I’ll try cutting them lengthwise and removing the seeds, okra are known for getting mushy, they just need their little caps removed.


Okra Sautéed with Tomatoes and Garlic alla Napoletana

  • 1 lb okra
  • 2 stewed tomatoes
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive
  • salt to taste

Rinse the okra and trim the tips and the heads, you could also try slicing them lengthwise and removing the seeds, it will make them mushier, which is what I was going for here. Leaving them whole will keep them firm and they won’t get slimy.

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, add garlic and once the garlic starts to sizzle add the stewed tomatoes, breaking them up in your hands as you add them to the pan. Cook the tomato for about 2 minutes and then add the okra. Sauté until the okra has softened, add water as needed.

The okra can be served hot or at room temperature.


~ by italicious on June 9, 2009.

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