Farm Stand Succotash – No Sufferin’ Here

Back when SoupAddict was a kid (and thought Campbell’s Vegetable Soup with a little vinegar was the cat’s meow, as far as soup was concerned), she watched a lot of Looney Toons. And she could totally relate when Sylvester the cat would exclaim “Sufferin’ Succotash!” at some exasperating situation.

Although adult SoupAddict has since learned that suffering succotash means something else entirely, back then, she took things literally, as kids do, and felt it an entirely appropriate turn of phrase: she dreaded seeing that can of succotash sitting on the kitchen counter, pegged for the evening’s dinner. Suffer, indeed. SoupAddict still harbors a deep hatred of the lima bean, and will only eat canned corn if forced to be polite.

So when she spied this recipe on Epicurious, she was surprised it sounded so good. Delicious, even. And almost all of the ingredients could be found at her neighborhood farmers’ market. Even better.

SoupAddict definitely left out the lima beans that Gourmet called for, but that doesn’t mean you should. This is a lovely, hearty side dish of summer flavors that will easily feed a family of four, with leftovers.

Wash the ears of corn, and use a sharp knife to remove the kernels. Warning: this photo was for aesthetics only; removing corn like this will result in kernels everywhere except on your cutting board. Instead, do this same cutting motion in a large bowl, or, tilt the ear nearly horizontal to the cutting surface and cut away from you.
These burgundy beans were a fabulous find. They’re a lovely purple on the outside, bright green on the inside. Used like a snap bean, they turn green when cooked, but in this dish, they received only a light heat treatment and retained most of their colors.
Cranberry beans.
SoupAddict’s very favorite cherry tomato, the Black Cherry. If anything could save SoupAddict from her childhood succotash traumas, it’s the Black Cherry.
Basil fresh from SoupAddict’s garden.
Corn and tomatoes simmering in all the bacon drippings goodness.
All the players pile in. Lovely bunch, they are.
Light and fresh, not at all can-y or casserole-y. SoupAddict is happy to have succotash in her life (but not you, Lima Bean. You’re still banned.)

Farm Stand Succotash
Gourmet, August 1999
1/4 pound bacon (about 4 slices)
1 pound beans, your choice (try fresh shell beans or snap beans. Frozen will work, too. I used fresh burgundy beans, cranberry beans, and some frozen edamame from last year’s garden.)
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes (about 1 pint)
4 ears corn
1 small Vidalia onion or other sweet onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Sherry
1/4 cup packed small fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup packed small fresh arugula leaves
garlic croutons (optional, but delicious)

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 and set skillet aside.

Rinse snap beans, if using, and set aside (they do not need to be pre-cooked).

Shell fresh beans if using. In a small saucepan of boiling salted water cook beans, covered, over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender (5-20 minutes, depending on the bean: cranberries boiled for about 15; edamame’s were actually microwaved for just a couple of minutes). In a sieve drain beans and rinse under cold running water to stop cooking.

Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Cut corn kernels from cobs. Chop onion and mince garlic.

Add oil to bacon fat in skillet and cook onion over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomatoes, corn, and vinegar and cook, stirring, until tomatoes just begin to lose their shape. Remove skillet from heat and gently stir in beans and half of bacon. Cool succotash to room temperature.

Slice the basil chiffonade and tear the arugula leaves into small pieces. Stir the basil and arugula into the succotash and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve succotash spooned over garlic croutons, topped with remaining bacon.

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