The idea behind this blog was originally meant to be a kind of an online recipe box, full of dishes that I loved and would make again. The funny thing is, for some reason I rarely ever seem to make any of these recipes more than once or twice. I suppose I feel compelled to keep challenging myself with unfamiliar ingredients and techniques, attempting different cuisines, and working my way through the ever expanding library of cookbooks I keep accumulating.
So for the little 4th of July gathering that Mark and I threw last week, somehow I found myself perparing almost an entire meal full of dishes that I've previously made. It felt a little like I was playing it safe. Where was the discovery? There would be no anticipation of the unexpected. I decided I ought to venture out a little. There was an interesting varriation on succotash, in Sunday Supers at Lucques. Now I admit that succotash is hardley going to test my skills as a cook. I mean, it's basically just stirring corn and lima beans. This version, however, is just different enough to make it seem exciting and new. It's served on a bed of lightly dressed greens and includes sauteed summer squash, an ingredient I'd not previously worked with. I thought Ms. Goin's clever update on a classic would round out my meal perfectly.
(For the dressing)
1 tablespoon finely diced shallot
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
(For the salad)
3/4 cup diced red onion
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 cups diced summer squash
3 cups fresh corn (from about 4 ears)
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 cup cooked fresh lima beans (I used frozen)
1/2 cup sliced fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced chives
4 ounces mixed greens such as watercress and arugula
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
First make the dressing. Place the shallot, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a bowl, and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in 5 tablespoons of olive oil, and taste for ballance and seasoning.
Heat a large saute pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the red onion, and the thyme. Saute for about 1 minute, and then add the squash. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and cook for another 4 minutes or so until the squash is tender and has a little color.
Cool the squash on a baking sheet. Wipe the pan out with paper towels, return it to the stove, and heat over high heat for 2 minutes. Add 2 taqblespoons of olive oil, the corn, and 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Saute, stirring often for about 4 minutes until the corn is just tender.
Cool on a baking sheet. Place the cherry tomatoes in a large salad bowl, and season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add the cooled squash, corn, and the lima beans, and toss with half of the dressing. Taste for seasoning, and adjust with more salt and lemon juice is you like. Gently toss the herbs into the succotash.
Toss the watercress and arugula with the remaining dressing, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place the greens on a large chilled platter, and arrange the succotash on top.
This salad is an glorious orgy of light, sunny freshness. The tart, lemony dressing and jumble of fresh herbs meld beautifully with the crisp corn, creamy lima beans, tomatoes, arugula and the thyme flecked, sauteed summer squash. The salad is hearty enough for a nice, light lunch although it's perfect as an accompaniment for weekend summer barbecue.