Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen corn making its way into the grocery stores and farmers market, and have caught a few glimpses of okra as well. The okra is a little early as it usually comes into peak season around August or early September, but seeing it alongside corn inspired me to take advantage of this colliding of the seasons.
Succotash isn’t something I regularly eat these days, but I hold a fondness of it from childhood.
If you’ve never had or heard of succotash, it is a traditional Native American dish typically made with corn and lima beans or other shell beans, and may be combined with a variety of other summer ingredients like peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes. The name is derived from the indigenous people from Narragansett (now Rhode Island) who referred to m’sickquatash, meaning “boiled whole ear of corn”, or something along those lines.
Naturally vegan and gluten free, Succotash is typically a side dish, but may be transformed into a hearty entree with beans.
When making succotash with okra, I find the best flavor and texture comes from pan searing the okra first. This okra cooking technique helps to cut down on the slime you may get if you stir your okra too much or allow it to be exposed to too much moisture while sautéing.
Summer Succotash with Okra
Serves 2 – 4.
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 pound okra, cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large fresh jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 or 2 ears corn, kernels cut off and cobs
8 ounces fresh beans (baby lima beans,
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes (about 1/2 pint), halved
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a wide pan over medium heat. Pan sear okra until browned on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside.
2. Heat remaining olive oil in pan and add onion. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in corn, jalapeno, fresh beans, and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes.
3. Return okra to pan stir in vinegar. Remove from heat, add basil, salt, and pepper, and adjust seasonings, to taste. Serve.