Blistered Okra with Garlic and Cumin
An Anaheim pepper is a mild variety of chili pepper. The name “Anaheim” derives from Emilio Ortega, a farmer who brought the seeds to the Anaheim, California, area in the early 1900s.
Yield: 2-3 servings
2 tablespoons ghee, avocado oil (for vegan version), or butter
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2-4 dried red Thai chiles
10-15 garlic cloves, peeled and halved if large
1 pint fresh okra (about 2/3 pound), trimmed and halved lengthwise*
*I cut off any brown parts from the caps and tips of the okra that need it, but some do not require trimming. If your okra comes with stems, be sure to remove those.
Heat a very large cast iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is very hot, add your cooking fat of choice (if you use butter, be ready to add the other ingredients quickly before it burns, and turn the heat down a bit if necessary). Add the cumin seeds, chiles, and garlic and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, until the seeds are popping and the garlic is beginning to brown. Add the okra, stir once, and then cook, turning occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until blistered and tender.
Season liberally with sea salt (Maldon is especially good here) and serve right away, removing peppers before serving or warning your diners not to actually eat them.