Before this experimental dish, I had never before cooked okra. It is one of the easiest vegetables to prepare and it is a sweet and satisfying ingredient. It is soft on the outside but has a crunch similar to an al dente string bean. Roasted sweet potato doused in olive oil, salt, pepper, and cinnamon is about one of my all time favorite things to eat (and to smell when it’s cooking in the oven), and dill marinated roasted shrimp is another flavorful offering. Save the leftovers for lunch tomorrow: this dish makes for a fantastic cold salad.
Ingredients (for 4):
About 16 shrimp
About 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp chopped dill
Salt and pepper
1 sweet potato, skin removed and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup okra
1 bunch swiss chard (including the stems), rinsed, chopped into 2 inch pieces, and still wet (separate the beautiful red stems from the leaves)
2 cloves garlic, minced and separated
1 cup cooked quinoa (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 415 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss the sweet potato cubes with 1 tsp ground cinnamon, a pinch of salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Place them onto one layer on the baking sheet and make sure they are evenly coated with all of the above. Bake for 30 minutes, or until slightly browned and tender.
In a small bowl, mix the shrimp with a dash of olive oil, salt, pepper, 1 of the minced garlic cloves, and 1 tbsp chopped dill. Allow to marinate for a few minutes.
Next, in a medium saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the swiss chard stems and cook for a few minutes until they are tender. Add 1 of the minced garlic cloves and mix around for 1 minute until the garlic starts to give off a scent, but not too long so that it burns. Add the swiss chard leaves and use tongs to fold them over so that they cook evenly. Cook the leaves 6-8 minutes or until tender like cooked spinach. Transfer to a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.
Move the sweet potato pieces to one side of the baking sheet and add the marinated shrimp to the other side. Return to the oven for about 5-6 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink.
Add a dash more olive oil to the pan and add the okra. Season with a pinch of salt, pepper, and ground cinnamon. Stir a few times in the pan for about 6 minutes. The okra should not be too soft, nor too hard. It should have a bite like a string bean. Add the okra to the swiss chard and cover with foil to keep warm.
When the shrimp are cooked through, remove the pan from the oven and add everything back to the saute pan: the swiss chard, okra, shrimp, sweet potato (and 1 cup of already warm quinoa if you are mixing in quinoa like I did). Gently stir everything to incorporate all of the flavor, and serve immediately.