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Charred Okra and Corn Salad With Spicy Sausage Vinaigrette

Time 40 minutes
Yields Serves 2 to 4
Charred okra, corn and Jimmy Nardello peppers.
Charred okra, corn and Jimmy Nardello peppers combine in this ode to summer.
(Ben Mims / Los Angeles Times)
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This dish is fantastic hot, but it still tastes great after a couple hours sitting at room temperature. The heat and spices in the sausage add a ton of flavor to the sweet corn, peppers and green, toothsome okra. Use the ripest tomato you can find for the best flavor. And if you like, add chunks of mozzarella, feta or goat cheese to the salad at the end before serving.

1

Cut the tomato into half-inch-thick wedges or slices and arrange them evenly over the bottom of a large serving platter. Season the tomatoes with salt and black pepper. In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar and garlic.

2

Crumble the sausage into a large nonstick skillet, then place over medium heat. Once the sausage starts sizzling, continue cooking, stirring occasionally and breaking up the crumbles as you go, until deeply golden brown and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a wooden spoon or heat-proof silicone spatula, scrape the sausage and its fat into a large bowl.

3

Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the peppers, season with salt and black pepper and cook, in a single layer and undisturbed, until lightly blistered on one side, about 2 minutes. Toss the peppers and cook, undisturbed, until blistered all over and just tender, 1 to 2 minutes more. Scrape the peppers into the bowl and leave them on top of the sausage.

4

Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the okra to the skillet, season with salt and black pepper and cook, using tongs to arrange each piece cut side down as much as you can (this helps rid them of their slimy texture, but don’t sweat over it), until charred on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Toss the okra in the skillet and continue cooking until lightly charred on the other side and just tender, 3 to 4 minutes more. Scrape the okra into the bowl and leave it on top of the peppers.

5

Return the skillet to medium heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the corn, season with salt and black pepper, and sugar if using, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape the corn into the bowl, add the vinegar-garlic mixture and toss everything together while warm.

6

Immediately spoon the salad over the tomatoes in an even layer. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and more black pepper. Garnish with basil just before serving.

Variations:
If you have bacon, use 6 strips, cooked and crumbled, in place of the sausage. If there are leftovers, sandwich with queso Oaxaca or mozzarella between tortillas for quesadillas. Want to make this vegan? Use vegan meat substitutes like Beyond Meat spicy Italian sausage, soyrizo or cooked, crumbled extra-firm tofu. Or omit the meat altogether and replace it with diced avocado.
Ingredient Note
Jimmy Nardello peppers are long, finger-like red peppers that are mild and floral with no heat. They’re available in farmers markets in California in late July through the end of August and in some specialty grocery stores. Search them out at your local market or at Melissas.com for this recipe. But if you can’t find them, you can use Italian red frying peppers, but even those are difficult to find fresh outside of Italy. Instead, use half the amount of long red finger chiles, like the kind you find at Indian grocery stores, or Fresno chiles; know that these will be much spicier than Jimmy Nardello peppers, so be fastidious about removing their seeds, unless you love lots of heat. You can use regular red bell peppers if you like, but they will be much sweeter than Jimmy Nardello peppers.