In my ongoing quest to rid okra of its sliminess, this recipe might be the most efficient, in terms of the level of effort you put into it and the finished result. The taste is similar to fried okra, and most of the ingredients are the same. But instead of breading and frying individual pieces of okra, you toss the okra pieces with breading and seasoning in a bag, then lay them in a pan and sprinkle with chopped bacon. The result is crunchy, smoky, and decidedly not slimy, and while I still prefer fried okra overall, this is still a great recipe. Especially considering your hands-on time is only about 15 minutes.
The original recipe only calls for 30 minutes of baking time, but I upped that to 50 minutes to ensure crispy, not slimy okra and browned bacon. Get the okra in the oven, then use the baking time to prepare the rest of your meal. You’ll also have tons of leftovers, which reheat well.
Okra Baked with Bacon (very lightly adapted from Homesick Texan)
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
5 to 7 drops Tabasco sauce (optional)
2 pounds fresh okra, washed, dried and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
6 strips uncooked center-cut bacon, diced
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
In a large resealable plastic bag, combine cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce; close and shake to combine. Add the okra pieces and shake to coat the okra in the cornmeal mixture.
Arrange okra in prepared baking dish. Top with bacon. Bake for 30 minutes; stir lightly to make sure all pieces come into contact with the bacon. Bake 20 minutes more, until the bacon is browned and the okra is crispy on the outside.