Oven-roasting is not only the simplest method for cooking okra, it’s the best way to ensure optimal flavor and a firm, non-slimy texture.
Okra is an edible seed pod native to Africa and was originally transported to the American South by slaves. It’s grown year-round in the South, but peak season elsewhere in the country is May through October.
When shopping for fresh okra, look for bright green, unblemished pods under four inches in length. You can store okra in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to three days, but we recommend using it as quickly as possible for best flavor and texture.
For this recipe we’ve oven-roasted our okra and paired it with bits of crisp bacon and plum tomatoes to make a quick, easy side dish with a homestyle Southern flair.
Roasted Okra with Bacon and Tomatoes
- 1-1/2 lbs fresh okra
- 3 medium plum tomatoes
- 3 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and coat a large, shallow baking pan with nonstick spray.
- Trim the stem ends from the okra, cut them in half lengthwise and arrange them on the prepared pan in a single layer. Season lightly with salt and pepper and roast just until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
- While the okra roasts, dice the cooked bacon into 1/4-inch pieces and set aside. Quarter the tomatoes lengthwise, cut each piece crosswise into 3 or 4 pieces and season with salt and pepper.
- Remove the okra from the oven, and scatter the tomatoes and bacon over top. Continue roasting just long enough for the tomatoes to soften and heat through, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Serve immediately.