First, choose small, pinky-size okra so they're soft—even sweet. Blacken them whole in a slick of bacon fat, and they're suddenly the smoky, meaty, crunchy backbone that your summer succotash has always longed for. Corn, tomatoes, and limas get tossed right in the same skillet, and the whole dish is finished with bright, punchy hits of lemon, parsley, and basil; it is a salad, after all—a best-of-summer, spoonable, no-slime salad. —EmilyC
slices thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into lardons
fresh or frozen lima beans
fresh corn kernels (from 4 ears of corn)
scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
red pepper flakes
cherry tomatoes, halved
Juice of 1 lemon, to taste
firmly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves, torn
firmly packed basil leaves, torn
In This Recipe
Rinse and thoroughly dry the okra, then trim the tops.
In a 12-inch (30cm) skillet (cast iron works well), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring every so often, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Pour the bacon fat into a small, heatproof bowl. Wipe out the pan.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lima beans, turn down the heat, and simmer until tender, which can take anywhere from a few minutes to 20 minutes, depending on the freshness of your lima beans. Drain.
Coat the bottom of the pan with bacon fat and warm over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Working in batches, arrange the okra in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until nicely charred on the bottom, several minutes. Flip the okra and continue to cook until crisp-tender and charred on all sides, about 3 minutes. Taste an okra pod to check doneness; if the okra is charring too quickly, turn down the heat. Transfer the okra to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Pour more bacon fat or olive oil into the pan if needed and warm over medium-high heat. Add the corn, scallions, and red pepper flakes and sauté until the corn is crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt.
Turn the heat down to low and add the bacon, lima beans, and cherry tomatoes. Toss gently and cook until just warmed through, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding as much of the lemon juice as you like. Remove from the heat.
Add the parsley and basil and toss together. Serve warm or at room temperature.