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Summer Succotash

August 10th, 2010 · No Comments

Tomatoes! Corn! Farm stands and markets are overflowing with these irresistible and versatile summer vegetables. They can be used in so many different and wonderful ways it’s hard to grow tired of them. And need I remind you it’s already August – soon you’ll be wearing a sweater, pining for all things summer, and wondering where all the corn and tomatoes went.

This succotash has a lot going for it. First, it utilizes both corn and tomatoes (hoorah – you don’t have to choose!). Second, there’s no cream or butter, so rather than tainting the rest of your plate’s occupants with its soupiness, this succotash is crunchy with freshness. Oh, and it also has bacon. Yep, bacon.

The bacon is what drew me to the recipe initially and it played an even bigger role than I was expecting. Each bite was sweet, salty, crunchy, and bursting with the summery flavors of corn and tomatoes. We ate it with steak, but it would be perfect with grilled scallops, shrimp, or crab cakes. It will dress up any casual summer meal.

You can use fresh or frozen beans. I shelled fresh beans last summer and swore I’d never do it again. But if you’re feeling up to the task (are you crazy? it’s gorgeous outside), you’ll need about a pound of fresh pods.

I used my patented mix of yellow grape and red cherry tomatoes. They have slightly different tastes and the vibrant color combination enhances any dish.

The fine folks at Gourmet also suggest serving this succotash with garlic croutons. I didn’t do this, but how could it be bad?

Summer Succotash
Adapted from Gourmet

1 cup frozen baby lima beans
1/4 pound bacon (about 4 slices)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small Vidalia onion or other sweet onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
3/4 pound cherry tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pints), halved (I used a mix of red and yellow)
Fresh kernels from 4 ears corn
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, plus more to taste (I only had red wine vinegar)
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup packed arugula leaves

In a small saucepan of boiling salted water cook beans over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 3-5 minutes. In a sieve drain beans and rinse under cold running water to stop cooking. Set aside.

In a skillet cook bacon over moderate heat until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels and crumble. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat from skillet. Add oil to bacon fat in skillet and cook onion over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add tomatoes, corn, and vinegar and cook, stirring, until tomatoes begin to lose their shape. Remove skillet from heat and gently stir in cooked beans and bacon. Cool succotash to room temperature and gently stir in basil and arugula, and salt, pepper and additional vinegar to taste.

Neighborhood: Veggie Sides