Thursday, September 16, 2010

Late Summer Succotash

The glory of a good succotash is great ingredients - so beautifully available this time of year.  I keep experimenting with recipes but I think this is the winner so far . . . though a close runner up is the recipe in Rick Rodgers Thanksgiving 101.

What makes this recipe especially fine is the unexpected splash of vinegar to brighten the flavors.    That and generous fresh basil - because why would you use any other herb in late summer? 

I like to add steamed flat Italian green beans and I adore the sweet tenderness of fresh shell beans - I prefer to shell the adorable red & white cranberry beans instead of the more usual fresh limas.  With bacon that was our neighbor's hog, basil I grew myself, and peak-of-ripeness local vegetables this, for me, is late summer in a dish. 

adapted from Epicurious: Gourmet August 1999

Late Summer Succotash

Over moderate heat cook until crisp
  • ¼ lb bacon (~ 4 slices)
Drain grease and blot, setting aside 2 Tablespoons of bacon grease.  Crumble bacon into nice-sized bits.

  • 2 lbs fresh cranberry beans in pod  (a delight in itself.  Now I just need to find me a rocking chair and a big wraparound porch and a little early morning birdsong)  - about 2 cups of beans

Add shelled beans to
  • a small saucepan of boiling salted water
and cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender - about 7 minutes.  Ladle beans out of water with a slotted spoon.

Using bean water steam
  • 1- 2 lbs flat Italian green beans
about 5 minutes until color is vivid.  Then lift from boiling water and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking.

Cut kernels from
  • 8 ears of corn
taking care to catch the juices in a bowl or on cutting board.

  • 1 - 2 lbs cherry tomatoes
cutting the larger tomatoes in half, then chop or mince
  • 2 Vidalia onions
  • 2 - 3 garlic cloves

Add the saved 2 tablespoons of bacon grease to skillet and cook onion over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add garlic and cook or 1 minute, stirring.  Add tomatoes, corn and
  • 2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
Cook, stirring, until tomatoes just begin to lose their shape. 

Remove skillet from heat and gently stir in both kinds of beans and the bacon.  When a little cooled, gently stir in
  • ½ cup or more of generously packed basil leaves, gently torn
Pepper to taste.  Family to table.  Enjoy to the last bite.

1 comment:

Emma J said...

Made this again last night. It's become one of the rituals of the end of summer. Added 3 sliced zucchini. So very yum.