on the menu : sweet potato salad w/ pickled okra

SWEET POTATO SALAD W/ PICKLED OKRA

The other day, I embarked on a little pickling journey with my friend.  I went into it blind; literally no experience in pickling or canning aside from reading about it but I have to admit that after just a few hours, I was absolutely hooked.  Among the array of vegetables she and I pickled, the okra + green beans were especially intriguing.  Okra is often dismissed for its sliminess.  I get it.  I can’t say that I would be perfectly content eating a bowl of just okra, but I wouldn’t say that’s solely due to its sliminess.  By pickling okra, the vinegar sucks out about 80% of the slime and adds the right amount of bite and kick it needs.  The pickling juice was pretty simple – vinegar, dill, chiles, garlic, some spices.  I don’t think people would normally think to incorporate such a concoction with potato salad but it was quite the complement.  A bit like adding capers [which is more “normal”] but so much more flavor intensive.  Not to mention the awesome health benefits of okra!  Google it…  So we still have a month or two before the local farmers market shuts down for the season but I plan on stocking up on those organic veggies and doing some fun pickling/canning to last me through the winter!

INGREDIENTS:

  • Sweet Potato (2)
  • Red Onion (1)
  • Celery (3)
  • Dried Cranberries (1/3 cup)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (2 tsp)
  • Red Wine Vinegar (1/4 cup)
  • Dijon Mustard (1 tbsp)
  • Maple Syrup (1 tbsp)
  • Worcestershire Sauce (2 tsp)
  • Paprika (1 tsp)
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt + Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Make the pickled okra/green beans ahead of time.
  2. Fill a pot with cold water for the sweet potatoes.
  3. Peel the sweet potato and cube into equal sized pieces.  Toss the cubes into the cold water, add salt, and let the pot come to a boil.  Cook the sweet potatoes until al denté (you’ll finish cooking them in the oven).
  4. Meanwhile, finely chop up your onion, celery, thyme and rosemary.
  5. Take about a tbsp of the chopped onion and add it to a small food processor.  Also add the apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, maple syrup, worcestershire sauce, paprika, oil, salt + pepper.  Blend until smooth.
  6. Pour the vinaigrette into a large mixing bowl.  Throw in the rest of your chopped onions, the chopped celery, herbs, and toss in the vinaigrette.
  7. Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
  8. Drain the sweet potato cubes, let cool a bit, then add to the large mixing bowl and toss with the other ingredients.  Season with salt + pepper.