Recipe: Crispy Oven-fried Okra

Emergency!  We are in the dog days of summer, and our CSA has started the annual okra harvest.  Each week, we get pounds and pounds of the stuff.  My Yankee husband isn't so sure about the slimy texture of boiled okra.  So, late last year I invented this method for oven frying fresh okra.  It is incredibly easy, can be prepped before work, saves well, and doesn't trash your kitchen the way deep frying would.  My toddler son loves it, too!

Crispy Oven-fried Okra

This recipe is for two pounds of okra, but it can be adapted to any amount.

Fresh raw okra, washed, trimmed, and chopped into 1" lengths
Whole milk (about 1/2 cup per pound of okra)
1/2 cup powdered Parmesan cheese (Yes, the cheapo shaker kind...just try to get the stuff that doesn't have additives.  I recommend the ALDI brand.)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup white cornmeal
salt and pepper to taste

Place the okra and whole milk in a large bowl, toss to coat the okra, and refrigerate.  Let the okra soak in the milk for at least three hours, stirring occasionally.  Over time, the milk will be absorbed into the interior of the okra.  After soaking, discard the milk that remains in the bottom of the bowl.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the okra by handfuls and toss to coat with the dry mixture.  Shake off the excess dry mixture and spread the okra out on a baking sheet.  A dark, unlined baking sheet will help the okra brown. 

Bake the okra at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes, shaking and turning the okra halfway through.  You may need to slightly adjust the cooking time based on your particular oven and the type of baking sheet you use.