Bacon Okra Tomato Salad
This is so simple, but so tasty, and pretty to look at, too. A great light meal on a too-hot night. And given how simple it is, the ingredients should be as fresh as possible. A mealy, tasteless tomato just won’t do. Two medium heirloom tomatoes, or other full-flavored tomato, sliced 4 or 5 pieces of good quality, thick cut bacon, cooked crisp, drained, and broken into bite-size pieces About a dozen small, tender okra pods (no more than 2 inches long), washed, patted dry, caps trimmed and sautéed until crisp tender (see recipe below) 1⁄4 tsp. cumin powder 1⁄4 tsp. cayenne powder Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste Balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil (or make another vinaigrette like the one used in the first salad recipe) Sweet basil sprig for garnish
To sautée okra: Into a heated stainless steal skillet, add 1 tsp of olive oil and one tsp. of canola oil (or use 1 tsp. of bacon drippings instead of canola oil for extra flavor) and tilt the pan to coat. Add whole trimmed okra and seasonings to pan and sauté over medium high heat for a couple of minutes until pods are lightly browned. Put a lid on the pan, reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 2 minutes more or until pods are bright green and tender crisp.
To assemble salad: Arrange tomatoes and bacon on two salad plates. Top with sautéed okra, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (or lemon vinaigrette), garnish with basil, and serve. Serves 2. Variation: For a creamier dressing, whisk in a splash of buttermilk or a tiny dollop of mayo.