May one recite a bracha while in the presence of ervah? According to Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 75, one may not pray or recite Torah while in the presence of body parts that should be covered. Does this also apply to blessings (on food, etc.)?
Yes, see Aruch Hashulchan OC 75:7 who puts brachas part of the prohibition , but gives a reason why it is mutar (only uncovered hair ) nowadays. See also Mishna Berura 74:16 on making a bracha in mikvah. However,many disagree and hold that ervah still applies in our times concerning hair being uncovered .
I found a range of discussion on evrah and tefila - which gives insight.
Many citations references Biur Halakha 74:
halakha prohibits reciting devarim she-bikedusha when
- one can see one's own nakedness, or
- when "one's heart can see one's nakedness" (i.e. one doesn't have a separation, such as clothing or a belt, between one's upper and lower body), as well as
- when one is unclad,
- even if he is unable to see his nakedness. Furthermore, he writes, it is also prohibited to recite Shema
- if one can see, or if one's "heart" can see, another's nakedness.
Alternatively, he writes, while if one covers one's own ervah with water (i.e. in a mikveh) one may recite a berakha. This would not work in the visual presence of another's ervah.
Gemara (Berakhot 24), on aspects of a woman that are also considered evrah:
a man should not recite Keriyat Shema in the presence of "ervah." Aside from the obvious definition of "erva," i.e. private parts, the Gemara lists other types of erva. As we shall see, the Gemara prohibits reciting Shema in the presence of a women's "shok," "se'ar," and while listening her singing voice ("kol be-isha"). Furthermore, a man may also not recite Shema in the presence of a "tefach" of an area of a women's body which is ordinarily covered.