Poor Succotash. What has this simple summer time dish done to earn such a bad rap? Maybe it’s all because of Sylvester the Cat’s expression of distaste. Maybe it’s the memory, burned in many folks’ brains, of overcooked, mushy lima beans that turns them off. Or did a generation tire of eating it during the Great Depression era and refuse to make it for their own children? No way to be sure, really. But, I’ll tell you what, I’m not sufferin’ after eating the delicious Fire Roasted Summer Succotash we cooked up this weekend. Just a lot of Mmmmmmm-ing going on over here!
Meet the new and improved, make your mouth water, light and delicious summatime succotash.
We started by firing up the grill and gathering our ingredients.
Succotash is usually comprised of corn and lima beans, or another type of shelled bean, and often contains tomatoes or peppers. That makes good sense to me. The peppers or tomatoes add sweetness, moisture, and beautiful color to the dish. I hadn’t gotten my grubby little mitts on my juicy Turtle Bend cherry tomatoes yet, so I opted for the lovely orange bell pepper.
I tossed two shucked ears of corn and my orange pepper in canola oil and seasoned my corn with salt and pepper.
And then they made their way to the grill, where my grill-master husband tended to them lovingly.
It’s important to keep turning the corn as it chars, so you can infuse that wonderful grill flavor, but maintain the crispness of the kernels. The goal for the pepper was to blacken it with the flames. Once the pepper was black all over, I placed it in a bowl and covered it with foil for about five minutes.
Then, I was able to easily peel the skin right off. I seeded and diced the pepper and set it to the side.
Meanwhile, Adam made a foil pouch, leaving a little opening in the top for the smoky air to circulate, and roasted our 3 cloves of garlic over the flame for 20 minutes or so.
On the stove, I poured one cup of frozen baby lima beans into a pot of unsalted water.
Here’s the first trick. Apparently if you salt the water, the small holes in the beans get plugged up with salt preventing the beans from absorbing the water and cooking properly. I have definitely made that mistake before.
I boiled them for three minutes and then covered the pot, turned down the heat, and allowed them to simmer for just ten minutes. If you let the beans cook for too long, they just get mushy and gross (in my opinion). When they were just tender, I drained the water and set the beans aside.
I stripped my corn off the cobs and squeezed out my sweet, soft garlic from the skins and minced it.
And I chopped some fresh flat leaf parsley to add a little of that brightness.
On the stove, I started with a good drizzle of EVOO and a diced, crisp local onion.
I know, I know. I start just about everything with onions and/ or garlic. But have you read about the health benefits of onions and garlic? They are amazing foods! They help prevent heart attacks, inflammation, and cancer. Onions are even known to support healthy bone density. So, not only do onions and garlic add depth and flavor to dishes, they aid in our quest to enjoy happy, healthy, long lives. I digress…
To my pan of softened onions, I added my beans, corn, garlic, peppers, and parsley. I squeezed the juice of a lemon over the pan and seasoned with salt and pepper.
I gently tossed the goodness all together and let the flavors mingle over the heat for just a minute.
Then, I added a touch of creaminess with 2 Tablespoons of creme fraiche.
Creme fraiche is like a softer, butterier version of sour cream. Not quite as tangy, more subtle. I stirred to coat the veggies in the light creaminess.
When I went in for a taste I was almost startled by the deliciousness. My mom always laughs at me when I’m surprised about the tastiness of my food. But man, oh man! My taste buds were excited. Home run.
This dish is light, and fresh, but so incredibly flavorful. The sweetness of the fire roasted pepper had me mmmmmm-ing again and again. The beans were tender, but held their own. The corn – sweet Georgia corn, grilled to perfection- can’t go wrong with that. And the roasted garlic added a whole ‘nother dimension.
We served this colorful summer side along with juicy, thick, grilled pork chops that we had marinated in citrus, herbs, garlic, and paprika. And finished it all off with the simplest grill treat- asparagus.
I was not mad about dinner. And you shouldn’t be either!
I hope you’ll try succotash on for size. Make it fresh, light, modern, colorful, and tasty. Exercise your creative license and switch it up to incorporate the fresh, seasonal ingredients available to you. Bring some sunshine to your dinner table. And enjoy the process.
Happy cooking and eating to you.
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