Baked Portobella & Okra Fries
***(disclaimer~ like everything else, I don't really know what I'm doing in the kitchen. I've only been cooking a few years; ask my husband about the time I burned water. I plan to make recipe posts like this one, but keep in mind that this is just the way that works for me, and may not necessarily be the "right" way. I welcome any suggestions or comments!)***
I grew up near Morgan Hill, CA, the self-proclaimed Mushroom Capital of the World. Morgan Hill gets hot. Mushrooms grow in fertilizer. Heat+Poo= 100 square miles of stink. As a result, I hated mushrooms most of my life.
Well, that was a pleasant way to start a recipe post! You totally want to eat some mushrooms now, don't you? You do, you know you do!
Sometime several years ago I ate a yummy mushroom and now I'm a total addict. I'll eat them raw, but my favorite way is to cook them nice and slowly, allowing time for the sweet, rich taste of the earth to melt into the mushroom, saturating the oven, the kitchen, and finally the mouth with its decadent taste. That's how this recipe goes. It's easy and so delicious! I'm typing this as the mushrooms and okra are cooking in the oven, and let me tell you, it smells scrumptious!!!
I guess I should give the okra a little spotlight time too. I had never had it before moving to the South, and I was more than a little skeptical of this little fuzzy, seedy vegetable. Once I tried it I was hooked! It has a very mild, sweet flavor that goes really well with mushrooms.
I can't take credit for the basis of this recipe; I think I originally tried a variant with zucchini. I changed it up a little bit for this. I try to be careful about what I cook, so for the most part this recipe is healthy. There's some carb calories in the panko, protein and fat in the milk and egg, and a little bit more fat in the grease for the pan. All in all it's pretty healthy, and a good way to get veggie-haters to convert.
I'll throw the recipe up first and follow with a bunch of pics:
Baked Portobella and Okra Fries
time: 15 minutes to prepare, 30ish to cook
(All measurements are approximate)
3 large portobella mushroom caps
12ish whole okra
1 cup panko crumbs (I used Italian seasoned, but you can use plain)
1 cup milk
1 egg white
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp sage
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp anise
Pre-heat oven to 350.
Wash and dry veggies. ~side note, I just read that mushrooms absorb water, so they must be dried quickly or they will get soggy when cooked. Slice mushrooms into thick-ish slices. Leave okra whole. Mix milk and egg white together and pour in a shallow dish. Mix the panko, salt, and spices in another shallow dish. Grease a baking sheet.
This part's messy! I set up a little assembly line with the veggies on the far left, then the bowl of milk and egg, then the dish of panko, and the greased sheet on the far right. Pick up a veggie, dip in milk mixture so it's covered in liquid, then drop it in the panko and roll it around so it gets all crumby. Then put it on the sheet. Repeat with all the rest! When you line them up on the sheet, try not to let them overlap too much, but it's really not a crisis if they do. They'll just stick together a little bit.
Throw them in the oven for ~30 minutes, or until the veggies are soft and the panko is golden and crispy. Serve hot with ranch, tahini, or plum sauce for an Asian theme. They don't reheat too well, so there's your excuse for chowing down!
Seen over at Tasty Tuesdays, Tutorial Tuesday, Holiday Projects, and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday!