I am fully aware that summer squash plants tend to produce so much fruit that by the end of the summer I’ll be rolling my eyes at the sight of a zucchini. But for the time being, the emergence of every single cute little pattypan squash generates a wave of excitement and “harvest” time has become my favorite moment of the day. Need I say that judiciously planning menus that involve said squash has become a recent occupation? There will be plenty of time for simple grilling, sauting, or oven-roasting later in the summer when I become jaded with the novelty and bounty of homegrown produce, but in the meantime, I’m just enjoying dreaming up new ways to use my produce.
Succotash is one of those dishes that is best served in summer, when the freshest and sweetest ingredients are available. Perhaps best known from Sylvester the Cat’s lisped expletive “Sufferin’ Succotash!”, the dish is actually has historical Native American origins and characteristically features lima beans and corn. There are lots of variations on the theme: some have cream, some include meat, and some are even baked into pot pies, but this particular recipe, from the May 2001 issue of Gourmet (thanks Epicurious!), melded summer squash, new potatoes, edamame, corn, and red onion in a combination that was so fresh and simple that I’m looking forward eating it all summer. More substantial than a salad, but less heavy than roasted veggies, this lightly sauteed dish was the perfect summer side and was lovely for lunch leftovers the next day.
I’ve posted the recipe as originally published in Gourmet, but I went lighter on the butter (using only about 1 tbsp at each appropriate step) and instead of using all pattypan squash, I used a blend of pattypans and zucchini, all cut into small pieces (approx. 1/2 inch). I’d recommend cutting the potatoes to the same size.
SUMMER VEGETABLE SUCCOTASH (serves 4-6 as a side dish)
1 lb small yellow-fleshed potatoes such as Yukon Gold
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (preferably corn oil)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 3 ears; preferably yellow and white)
8 oz baby pattypan squash, trimmed and quartered
8 oz frozen shelled edamame (fresh soybeans) or baby lima beans (1 1/2 cups), cooked according to package directions and cooled
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
1. Cover potatoes with cold salted water by 1 inch in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and cool, then cut into bite-size pieces.
2. Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat until foam subsides, then sauté potatoes with salt and pepper to taste, turning once or twice, until nicely crusted, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.
3. Sauté corn and squash in remaining 3 tablespoons butter in skillet over moderately high heat, stirring, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in beans and sauté, stirring, until heated through. Season with salt and pepper and add to potatoes with onion and chives, stirring to combine.