Sunshine succotash

Pale peas, butter beans, sweet bi-color peaches, and cream corn combine for a bright summer succotash.

The Runaway Spoon
Succotash is a perfect vehicle for Southern field peas and fresh corn.

Field peas and corn are my favorite summer foods, so I am always thinking up ways to use them in recipes. Succotash is a traditional native American dish originating in the Northeast, but it lends itself to regional variations and is a perfect vehicle for Southern field peas and our own fresh corn. Creamy butterbeans and delicate lady peas pair wonderfully with sweet corn.

I came home from the farmers’ market one Saturday with some lovely little yellow tomatoes I purchased from the Boys and Girls Club Technical Training booth. They were so pretty I couldn’t resist taking them home. Back in the kitchen, unloading all my beautiful purchases, I realized I had a little sunshine spectrum of produce that I knew would look bright and fresh together: pale peas and butter beans and sweet bi-color peaches and cream corn. And thus this version of my basic succotash recipe was born.

If you can’t find yellow tomatoes, red cherry tomatoes work just as well. If they are larger, cut them in half before adding them to the pot. I had a big handful of gorgeous thyme from the market, but oregano or marjoram would be just as tasty.

Sunshine Succotash
Serves 8

3 cups fresh butter beans
 2 cups fresh lady peas
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cup butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch green onions, white and light green parts, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Kernels cut from 5 ears corn
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes

1. Place the butter beans and lady peas in a saucepan and cover with water by about an inch. Bring to a boil, skim off any foam that rises, then lower the heat and simmer until the peas are tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain and rinse the peas.

2. Melt the butter in a large skillet and add the olive oil. Sauté the green onions until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for a further minute.

3. Stir in about half of the thyme leaves and stir until fragrant. Add the butter beans, lady peas and corn to the pan and stir to coat with the butter and oil. Stir in the cream, the remaining thyme, a nice pinch of salt and generous grinds of pepper and cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick and the cream has reduced.

4. Add the tomatoes, give it a good stir and cover the skillet. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes more until the tomatoes are soft and beginning to burst. Taste for seasoning and serve.

Related post on The Runaway Spoon: Fresh herbs field peas

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