I started my work on this article by asking a simple question: Is it better to poach or steam salmon when you want to gently cook it? I had my test set up: two pots, one full of a court bouillon—an acidic and aromatic poaching liquid traditionally used for seafood—and the other with water and a steamer insert. I was just about to bring both pots to a simmer before adding the fish, when I realized I’d asked the wrong question. Instead of comparing traditional poaching to steaming, I should have been comparing cold-start poaching to steaming.
I can think of a thousand reasons why boiling potatoes is the worst. Actually, I can just think of one right now: It takes too damn long. Also, watching and waiting for water to boil is a surefire way to take the joy out of cooking.
So I spoke with the Epi Test Kitchen, and they gave me four ways to go from 0 to potato—no boiling neccessary.
Fried is awesome, but the best way I’ve found to cook it is on the grill (or stir fry). Wash them, then add a little olive oil, some salt & pepper in a bowl, coat the okra with it & stick it on the grill. Leave it on just long enough to singe the hair (which is about the time the okra gets soft—between 5 – 10 minutes), then take it off & eat it. For even more added goodness, throw some cherry tomatoes in the same mix, then grill them too. But be careful, while the tomatoes also taste amazing, they are full of molten lava for a while.
In case you’re wondering, okra is high in vitamin K. Salted or unsalted:
1 ounce/28 grams of okra contains 11.2 mcg of vitamin K – 14% Daily Value (DV)
0.5 cup/80 grams of okra contains 32 mcg of vitamin K – 40% DV
Sweating your veggies is easy: simply put your prepped vegetables in a pot on low heat. Keep the lid on, and let them cook slowly. By keeping the lid on, you use their own liquid to “sweat” (aka steam) them. The technique is called à l’étouffée in French cooking, and it leads to soups and bisques with depth of flavor. You can also apply this to purees that are part of other dishes—like mashed potatoes, for example.