I don’t know about you, but succotash sounds very appealing to me. I always think of Sylvester the Cat saying “Thuffering Thucotash!” The word succotash is actually a Native American word meaning “boiled corn kernels.”
So, taken broadly, any cooked corn dish could be termed a succotash. Although succotash has sometimes gotten a bad name due to indifferent cafeteria cooking, it can be a very tasty and flavorful dish.
The main ingredients of succotash are generally fresh corn and lima beans, but there are any number of variations that you can make. Here is my simple take on succotash.
Serve it as a summer side dish, when the corn is good and sweet like it is on the Jersey shore in August but don’t let that stop you from making it other times of the year. I try to always use fresh vegetables when available but frozen can be used and still taste good.
Pack enough vegetables into it, along with other shell beans, and you have a really hearty meatless main course.
Consider this recipe a jumping off point. From this base, you can add almost any fresh vegetables that you have on hand and change up the seasonings to make the dish truly your own.
Simple Succotash Recipe
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 shallot minced
- 2 cups fresh baby lima beans you can also use frozen
- 6 ears corn shucked and cleaned of silk
- pepper flakes cayenne pepper, or hot sauce, to taste (optional)
- 14½ ounces diced tomatoes undrained (or about 2 cups very ripe diced fresh tomatoes, peeled and deseeded)*
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons mixed fresh mild herbs thyme, oregano, chervil, chives, etc
- Cut the kernels off the corn cobs by holding each ear vertically inside a large bowl. Make sure the end of the ear is firmly touching the bottom of the bowl. Using a sharp chef knife, slice the kernels off the ear, rotating the ear a bit before each new cut. Scrape the cobs with the back of your knife to get the rest of the pulp and milk.
- Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the butter, swirling it around the pan.
- When butter is mostly melted, sweat the shallot for a minute or two, until softened and translucent.
- Add the lima beans, corn, optional pepper flake, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until hot and simmering.
- Stir in the heavy cream and cook for a minute to reduce by ¼.
- Stir in the fresh herbs. Taste and correct seasonings.
- Serve warm, but this is even really tasty at room temperature.