Succotash is a Native American word for “broken corn kernels.” The Pilgrims were introduced to the dish and that first Thanksgiving almost certainly included some form of succotash. While it often is consider a “fall” dish, it really is a year-round treasure. You could even — this is heresy — use frozen corn. Suzen prefers fresh to defrosted, so we wait until the first corn arrives from Florida and we enjoy it until the very last harvest of the fall.
Beyond the corn, succotash is really a “what do I have on hand” recipe. Zucchini is a classic ingredient, but tomatoes and onions are welcome. In this version, peppers and zucchini abound. And fresh herbs.
This is a recipe Suzen uses for her culinary team building classes. It’s a perfect recipe for a small group of people — 3 to 6 — to cook together. There are lots of different ingredients. Lots of peeling and chopping. Each person can have their own individual task. And then there is the grand finale when all the ingredients — everyone’s efforts — are poured into one large bowl. In Suzen’s classes, we do make succotash for 20 or more guests. So, it’s a big bowl.
This dish is a side, a salad, even a main course if you want to go protein-free one evening. One thing is certain, when you first try succotash, you are intrigued and hooked. Leftover here are great. You can boost the flavor a day or so out with more vinegar or lemon juice. You could even incorporate some avocado for an authentic Pilgrim guacamole.
Don’t thank the Pilgrims. Thank the Indians.
Summer Zucchini and Corn Succotash
Yield: ~20 servings
- 12 ears of corn, shucked
- ½ cup whole garlic
- 1 cup vegetable stock [ideally homemade]
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 zucchini, peeled and diced into medium cubes
- 2 yellow squash, medium diced
- Olive oil as needed for sautéing
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
- 1 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 cup parsley, chopped, plus ¼ cup more for garnish
- 1 red bell pepper, medium diced
- 1 bunch scallions, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Clean the corn. Grill the ears to the point of having a slight char. Cool slightly, then remove the kernels from the ears. Allow to cool.
Sauté the garlic. When the garlic begins to brown, add just enough chicken stock to cover the garlic in the pan. Continue simmering until the garlic is soft. Almost all of the stock may have evaporated [but add more stock if necessary to keep the garlic from burning].
Add the red wine vinegar and simmer for 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Mash the garlic to form a paste. Set aside.
Sauté the zucchini and yellow squash in olive oil with salt and pepper. Add the chopped thyme. When the squash is tender, remove from the heat. Add the chopped basil and parsley. Immediately remove from the pan and cool on a sheet pan.
Sauté the red pepper in olive oil. When tender, cool on a sheet pan.
When all the vegetables are cooked and cool, combine all the ingredients in one large bowl. This includes the chopped scallions. Adjust the seasonings as necessary. Garnish with the remaining ¼ cup chopped parsley.
Source: Staff at Cooking by the Book
Photo Information [top]: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5 for 1/50th second at ISO-1250
Heavy cream, milk and eggs. This is a particularly light way to start a summer meal.
It is. It really is. If eaten in moderation.
Suzen’s busy season for corporate events is on. Firms come here, cook together, and eat what they have just polished in our kitchen. The first course of choice — seemingly by every client this summer — is this impeccably smooth summer flan. It’s the flan that consumes eggs and dairy. Into the mix you add corn and zucchini, for just a little crunch.
This is a rich way to serve up summer bounty. You can swap in other veggies here: asparagus, carrots, scallions, … Just make sure that the veggies are fully, thoroughly cooked before incorporating them into the flan.
In place of the feta, you can supply another “soft” cheese for similar texture but different flavor.
Serve with a chilled white wine, follow with salad topped with a strong vinaigrette. After this start any main course will receive automatic smiles.
Summer Vegetable Flans
Yield: 6 servings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the custard cups
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves. finely chopped
- 1 cup finely diced zucchini
- ¼ teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels
- 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup whole milk
- ¾ cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush six 6-ounce custard cups or ramekins with oil. Put a pot of water up to boil.
In a large skillet, heat the 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for minutes, stirring, until tender.
Stir in the zucchini and salt and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is tender. Stir in the corn and cook 1 minute longer.
Place the custard cups in a baking pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Divide the vegetable mixture among the custard cups and scatter the cheese over the top.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and cream. Divide the mixture among the custard cups. Pour the boiling water into the baking pan to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake the flans for 25 minutes, until the custard is just set.
Remove from the water bath; let cool minutes, then run a-metal spatula around the edge of the cups and invert the flans onto serving plates. (Or, if you prefer, you can leave the flans in the cups and serve them that way.)
Sources: The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vintage Cookbook from Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell
Photo Information [top]: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for 1/60th second at ISO-800