We recently had a grocery store open up extremely close to our Test Kitchen. Fortunately it was a Fresh Market, which is just between between a general grocery store like Safeway or Publix and a more upscale store like Whole Foods. The new store is great for us Test Kitchen folk because it helps us to see a wider variety of food items. Sometimes we feel like we are trying to re-invent the wheel when it comes to testing and developing recipes. Seeing and tasting all the new products help us to think a little more creatively about our recipes, thus creating more delicious and attractive recipes for our readers.
Today, while shopping for the first time at Fresh Market, I came across some dried okra. I know, it sounds awesome... It actually really was good; the texture was really the part that I loved. They are all really crunchy, like really crunchy. The type of crunch that instantly mutes any noise around you and replaces it with a deafening crack as you crunch down. I have also found (as I am eating them as I type) that occasionally you get one that is really airy and crispy, a nice change of pace as you crunch through the package. The crispy ones are a nice unexpected bonus, kind of like getting a peanut M&M that has 2 peanuts in it!
The flavor of these are pretty good, but could be a lot better. I'm imaging a soy and sesame flavored one or maybe one with a lot of black pepper on it. The okra flavor is pretty mild, in the same way that nori is. These would be great served with a dip at a party or with your summer tomato salad. I could see them crunched up over a stir-fry or sprinkled on a burger.
Anyhow, these were a nice treat to find in the store and they really got my mind thinking ways to use them.