Ba­con Okra Tomato Salad

Austin American-Statesman - - FOOD & LIFE -

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.

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