Sayonara Summer Succotash


Goodnight summer. photo: Nancy Duran

There’s a slight melancholy that always hits me at this time of year as we transition into a new season. I’m not sure why, really, because I absolutely love autumn, not to mention winter ski season. But saying good-bye to summer leaves me feeling just a little bit blue. So it was with great feeling that I surveyed my CSA haul this week and thought, this too must come to an end. Then I picked myself up and did the thing I do. I created a dish to celebrate summer and send it on its way.

The late harvest succotash comes to us from the Native Americans of the Northeast and it makes delicious use of all the vegetables that are overflowing farms and gardens at this time of year. While there are many variations on the succotash theme, corn and lima beans are generally the stars. I’m totally down with corn, but, unfortunately for me, lima beans are a vegetable for which I simply cannot find a place in my heart. Luckily, I always have frozen edamame beans on hand and they just happen to be the perfect stand in for limas. I’ve used a mix of summer squash and zucchini in this succotash but either/or would do just fine. And if you have other favorite summer veggies you’d like to throw in there, go for it. Whatever you do, though, don’t skip the tomatoes. The real magic of this dish is in the way they break down, providing the sweet sauce in which the veggies cook to snappy perfection. As the days shorten and the evenings cool down, this ode to summer marks a beautiful way to say thank you and good-bye to the carefree lazy days of August.

Serves 6

1 1/2 cups frozen edamame beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 large plum tomatoes, finely chopped
2 cups corn kernels (from about 2 ears of corn)
2 cups finely chopped summer squash and zucchini
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Zest and juice of 1 lime
2 scallions, dark green parts only, thinly sliced

  1. Remove the edamame from the freezer to partially thaw while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
  2. In a deep frying pan over medium-low heat, add the oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring, about 8 minutes, until the onion has softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Increase the heat to medium and add the tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, until they have mostly broken down.
  4. Add the corn, squash, and zucchini and toss to coat all over with the tomato-onion mixture. Cover and cook 5 minutes, lifting the lid once to stir.
  5. Stir in the edamame and cook, uncovered and stirring, 2 more minutes, until the edamame are just cooked and still snappy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with the lime zest and juice and scatter over the scallions.

Nutritional analysis based on 6 servings (does not include salt and pepper to taste):
Calories 143, Fat 6g, Sodium 11mg, Carbohydrate 20g, Fiber 4g, Sugar 4g, Protein 6g

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