september 20, 2013
Two things come to mind when I hear the word succotash : my mother’s unorthodox addition of tomato to the mixture of fresh corn and lima beans (now my preferred preparation), and, naturally, Sylvester the cat.
While attending college at George Washington University , we were treated one fine spring evening to a lecture by Mel Blanc at Lisner Auditorium. Open to the public, the house was packed. Mr. Blanc (“The Man of a Thousand Voices”) was the genius behind Bugs Bunny, Foghorn Leghorn, Daffy Duck and Sylvester the Cat, nemesis of Tweety Bird. Wowing the crowd with his vocal talents, the audience erupted in thunderous applause when he exclaimed the immortal line “Sufferin’ Succotash!” Thus, my inescapable link of this venerable Southern side dish with a large, sputtering black and white cat.
Felines will not be particularly drawn to today’s rendition of succotash, at least not to the vegetable component. But the aroma and tender brininess of Atlantic coast shrimp atop the succotash will reel ’em in. Barham Seafood at the South of the James Market had flavorful pink sweet shrimp recently and it served as the inspiration for this dish.
Teal Brooks of Pine Fork Farm had perfect tender fuzzy okra at the South of the James Market. Pole Green Produce in Hanover County carried just-picked baby lima beans, ears of corn and sweet bell pepper. My contribution to the mix was fragrant marjoram, growing happily in a vintage copper wash tub.
Consider this a one dish meal of color, texture and taste. It would be perfect with a starter of cucumber vichyssoise, or a lightly dressed green salad. After enjoying all the best summer has to offer in this meal, I am ready to see what autumn brings to the markets.
Shrimp with Late Summer Succotash
1/2 cup each finely diced red bell pepper and sweet onion
1 1/2 T unsalted butter
fine sea salt and finely ground white pepper
1 pound baby limas, preferably fresh
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth or seafood stock
kernels from 2 ears of fresh sweet corn
1 1/2 cup chopped fresh okra
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, preferably fresh
2 T unsalted butter
one large clove garlic, grated on zester or minced
2 T fresh marjoram or oregano, leaves only
- In large sauté pan, melt 1 1/2 T butter over medium heat, add pepper and onion with dashes of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, about 10 minutes.
- Add lima beans and broth, bring to boil, then simmer, covered, until beans are tender, about 30 minutes.
- Stir in okra and corn, and simmer uncovered until tender, another 5-10 minutes.
- In separate sauté pan, add 2 T butter over medium high heat, and when just melted add shrimp with generous dashes of salt and pepper, stirring and adding garlic.
- Remove shrimp from heat when they are just pink and curled.
- Plate succotash onto large serving bowls, top with shrimp and marjoram and serve immediately.