Thursday, July 15, 2010

Week 5: Summer Succotash

Photo courtesy of Doves and Figs

The invitation instructions were deceptively simple. An Americana-themed party. Pot luck dinner. Bring a dish that represents America to you.

Oh, soooo many ways to interpret that. I considered, and rejected, a whole raft of kitschy American recipes -- you know, the ones promoted by food manufacturers and featuring Jell-O or Cheez Whiz or condensed cream of mushroom soup. I took a pass on any elaborate construction projects or subtleties. I'm just not going to make a replica of the Statue of Liberty out of marshmallow treats, PVC pipe, and green fondant. (However, should this idea appeal to you -- if only for the "ick" factor -- you can find the how-to video here.)

I finally decided on succotash, for multiple reasons. Here's a dish that prominently features a New World crop, has strong regional associations, and evokes (for me, at least) pre-Colonial America and Thanksgiving. From a practical standpoint, succotash can sit out at room temperature on a buffet table for hours. It's a fun word to say. And I just plain like it. That this week's share included corn and green beans made my Summer Succotash recipe all the more appropriate.

Succotash fit in well among the pot luck offerings at the party. The interpretations of Americana included the nostaglic (daisy-shaped sandwiches with pimento cheese, a la 1917); regional foods (Southern mac and cheese pie); riffs on classics (vegetarian baked beans and gourmet sliders); a lot of blueberries (muffins, cornbread, pie, tarts, and cobbler); and plenty more stuff.

"Plenty more stuff" characterized our week. In addition to succotash (I made a batch for home, too), we ate CSA raspberries and blueberries out of hand; worked through most of an enormous head of Romaine lettuce; whipped up a zucchini-crusted pizza; made quick pickles from cucumbers and -- separately -- daikon radish (daikon was new to us; I'll have to post more about this another time); sauteed collard greens; and marinated summer squash and zucchini for a salad.

Summer Succotash
(adapted from The Boston Globe)

1/2 pound fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 ears of corn, kernels sliced off
1 large red onion, diced
3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts kept separate
3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

In a pot of gently boiling water, cook the beans for 2 to 4 minutes, until they are just tender. Drain the beans in a colander and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the corn and onion in the skillet about 3 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften, stirring occasionally.

Add the beans and the white parts of the scallions to the skillet. Cook about 2 minutes, or until all of the vegetables are cooked through to your liking. Off heat, stir in the parsley, green parts of the scallions, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or at room temperature.


  1. The succotash looks great - but I would love to hear more about the zucch crusted pizza!

  2. I got the recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook, but I just found out that Mollie Katzen has many of her recipes (including that one) online at (Go to her "Recipes" link, and scroll down to the bottom of "Entrees.") We topped our pizza with mozzarella, feta, garlic, and tomatoes, but one of these days I'm just going to make that crust and eat it plain.