Ooh, my favorite!


Late summer succotash
September 14, 2010, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Farmer's Market, Food, San Francisco

Late summer succotash

I am both regretful and embarrassed to admit that I’ve been absent from the farmer’s market for a few weeks. I can’t believe it, how could I let that happen? I was successful in missing the best of what summer has to offer in the form of corn, berries, and peas. I mean, I managed to pick up some stuff here and there from Whole Foods, but they weren’t anything special.

If there is an excuse to be had it’s that we haven’t had a summer yet, so I think I was lost somewhere in the fog that looms over the house every day. San Francisco is known for late summers, and by that I mean that summer doesn’t start until September and usually lasts through October. At least that’s what I’ve experienced so far and heard many times over. It seems to be the case so far because last weekend we had a beautiful summer weekend, and somehow I was suddenly inspired to run to the market and stock up on anything summery I could find.


I did a great job in making up for lost time and managed to find lots of beautiful beans, carrots, squashes, tomatoes (dry farmed!) and peaches. I was, however, devastated to find that corn was nowhere to be found. You see, I had been drooling over the thought of Smitten Kitchen’s succotash for weeks, but wasn’t able to find organic corn at Whole Foods, and seeing as how I’m slowly making my way through Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and I’ve still got scenes from Food Inc. burned into my memory, I wasn’t about to settle for conventional corn. Luckily, in a last minute stop for a bottle of kombucha on my way home I serendipitously found a few remaining ears of organic corn! Definitely not the peak of the crop, but still in great condition, I was happy enough with their outward appearance to snag four ears for the succotash. This was indeed a good day.

Words cannot describe the amazing punch of flavors in this dish, and for me the mixture of the rich bacon and vinegar really bring out the sweet crunch of the corn. I really just can’t get over the fact that I missed making this at least a few more times before the corn disappeared for the year.

I’ve mentioned Smitten Kitchen before, but I must say again that Deb is my go-to for menu planning and inspiration, and please believe that if you’re able to sneak in this dish before autumn fully arrives, you will see why I rely on her so often. A beautiful food blog with wonderful stories and recipes. She adapted this recipe from Gourmet, and I’ve adapated it to suit what I’d brought home from the market.

(Late) Summer Succotash with Bacon and Garlic Croutons

Adapted, from Smitten Kitchen who adapted, barely, from Gourmet

Serves 6 as a side dish

–  1/4 pound bacon (about 4 slices), sliced into lardons

–  1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

–  2 small shallots, finely chopped

–  1 large garlic clove, dinely minced

–  3/4 pound dry farmed tomatoes, diced

–  1/4 cup carrots, diced

–  1/4 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch strips

–  Kernels from 4 ears corn

–  1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, plus more to taste

–  1/4 cup pea shoots (original recipe calls for basil and arugula, but I had pea shoots on hand)

–  salt and pepper to taste

Slice the bacon into lardon strips and cook over medium heat in a large pan. Once the bacon is crisp, remove and drain on a paper towel. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat from pan and add the olive oil. Add the shallot to the oil and bacon fat and cook over medium heat until the shallots are translucent. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute more (I use my microplane and grate directly into the pan). Add the corn, tomatoes, carrots, and green beans to the pan and stir to coat with the shallots and oil. Lightly sprinkle with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Add the vinegar and cook, stirring, until the colors of the vegetables brighten and before the tomatoes lose too much of their shape.  Transfer the succotash to a serving dish and let cool slightly. Toss in the bacon, pea shoots, and croutons.

Croutons

Since I already had the oven going I did these on a sheet pan on the top rack, but a grill pan work just as well and will give you pretty grill marks.

–  1 loaf rustic bread
–  2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
–  Salt and pepper to taste

Cut 1-inch cubes from the bread, about three slices will yield enough. Toss lightly with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread into a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in oven and be sure to keep watch. Usually takes me about 10 minutes in my oven set at 400-degrees, with a light toss mid-way through. Let cool slightly and add to succotash.


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[…] our summer here has only just gotten underway this is another summery dish for you (did you see the succotash from last week?). I could see how this may not be much help to you now that most summers are fading […]

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