Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sufferin' Succotash!

CSA Succotash Ingredients

Billy Brown (born William Xavier Brown) was my grandfather- “Pop-Pop”. He wore a white dress shirt, tie, creased charcoal grey trousers and a Derby hat every day. He was bald ‘like a monk’, with a strip of black hair from ear to ear. And he was the kindest person I’ve ever known.
He would pick me up from Sacred Heart Academy in his blue Bonneville. Really good pumpernickel bread and butter, wrapped in Saran Wrap, would be sitting on the center console of the big car. “Here you go, Toots. This is for your hungry tummy”. I’d munch on it during the drive home, telling him about my day. When I went away to college in Pennsylvania, Pop-Pop would send ‘Care Packages’ to my campus apartment. They’d be filled with food to sustain me: Skippy peanut butter, Ritz crackers, spaghetti and a jar of Aunt Millie’s Spaghetti Sauce, Spam, tuna fish, and cans of succotash.
Succotash. That is the last time I thought about the mixture of lima beans, corn, green or yellow beans and red pepper. In college, I didn’t care for lima beans, and picked them out of the mix (I could have eaten them and ‘offered it up to God’, but I chose not to. I might go to hell.) Now, many years later, I actually love all kinds of legumes and pulses, limas among them. Succotash can have any legume in it—fava, kidney, white, navy- as well as corn and green or yellow beans. I made succotash earlier in the season with fava beans that I bought at Whole Foods. But this week’s share contains yellow wax beans, edamame, and corn. So-succotash!! Peppers from last week’s share will round-out the dish. Oh…and some bacon, too, just ‘cause it’s yummy and will add some smokiness to the dish. I think Pop-Pop would like it!
Succotash with edamame

The key to a good summer succotash is to keep it fresh and simple. I used bacon here for a wonderful smoky flavor, but butter or oil (1 Tablespoon) could be substituted.

2 slices thickly sliced bacon
8 ounces fresh or frozen lima or fava beans (shelled), or shelled edamame*
3 ears of corn
2 bell peppers (any color, but red and purple look great!)
4 ounces green or yellow wax beans
3 scallions (optional_
freshly ground black pepper

1. Dice the bacon and add to a deep heavy skillet. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is almost crisp and the fat is rendered.
2. Meanwhile, cut the kernels off the corn and dice the peppers. Trim the beans and cut into 1-inch pieces. Trim the scallions and slice diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces.
3. When the bacon is nearly crisp, add the corn and peppers. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until the peppers are crisp-tender. Add the green or yellow beans, cover and lower the heat to quite low. Cook for 5 minutes, until the beans just begin to change color. Stir in the scallions and season with black pepper to taste. Serve hot.

To cook edamame pods: Bring a pot of water to boil- large enough to fit the edamame with 2-inches of water covering them. Add the edamame and bring back to a boil. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Squeeze the beans out of the pods.
Succotash with fava beans
This week's share also includes potatoes, leeks, eggplant, cucumbers, and eggplant. Potato-leek soup sounds good for tomorrow- it's supposed to rain all week!