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Rarely embraced beyond the South, pickled okra is a staple in Bloody Marys and Grandma’s relish tray. My adventurous palate thought there was more that I could coax from the pickling jar.

The culinary adventure took shape along side a grilled baguette and seasoned ricotta — relying on heat from a fresh jalapeno and the natural sweetness of corn to create a bright, balanced flavor profile.

  • 1 jar hot pickled okra, drained and sliced
  • 1 ear fresh white corn, cut from cob
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup baby heirloom or cherry tomatoes, cut and quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 slice thick-cut apple wood smoked bacon, chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon white sugar
  • Salt and Pepper

Prep all ingredients. Heat a pan over medium-high heat, roasting corn kernels in olive oil until slightly charred. Remove from pan and reserve. In the same pan, render and cook the chopped bacon. Let cool slightly.

In medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Pour rendered bacon fat and chopped bacon into the bowl. Stir to coat. Season with salt, pepper and sugar to taste (sugar cuts the heat from okra and jalapeno). Let mixed relish rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

To serve, slice a fresh baguette and grill until toasty and slightly charred. Season fresh ricotta with a dash of salt and pepper. Spread ricotta on grilled baguette slices and top with the pickled okra relish. As a suggestion, prep a handful of crostini, presenting the remainder of the ricotta and relish in bowls with additional bread. Let guests assemble to prevent the crostini from getting soggy.

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