I've been wanting to make this recipe ever since I came across it in The Book's Vegetables chapter. The only thing stopping me from making it is the fact that it calls for pattypan squash. And while I've been keeping my eyes peeled for pattypans at the grocery store and the farmers market for weeks now, they never seem to have it. So, I decided to just go ahead and make it while fresh corn (the other key ingredient) is still in season and plentiful, and I'd just substitute regular yellow squash for the pattypans. I'm glad I didn't wait any longer. This was an excellent dish.
The Book departs from the traditional succotash recipe by substituting edamame for the usual lima beans. The two beans are pretty similar in size, color and texture, but The Book notes that limas are starchier than edamame. That, and the edamame has a milder flavor which I think is a good change, not to mention the fact that edamame has more cache than limas. (Hipsters eat edamame; grandmas eat limas.)
The recipe is pretty straightforward. You start by simmering a pound of baby Yukon gold potatoes until tender and then cut them into bite-sized pieces. (Why do they need to be baby potatoes if you're just going to cut them unto little pieces? I'm just asking.) Then, and this is the brilliant part of the recipe, you saute the potato pieces in a little bit of butter and oil until they're nice and brown and crispy. Remove the potatoes and cook the squash and kernels from three ears of fresh corn in some butter until "crisp-tender." Add the edamame (which you've cooked according to the package instructions) and cook until warmed through. Add the potatoes and serve.
The finished dish is great. It's buttery and flavorful with lots of great textures from all of the different elements. The sweet, crisp fresh corn and the tasty fried potatoes are the real stars of the dish.
The Book doesn't say how this dish fits into a menu. Is it a side dish? If so, what do you serve it with? We ate it as a vegetarian entree (along with the Watermelon, Tomato and Feta Salad as a first course) and it was very satisfying.
Finally, I have to mention that the whole time I was cooking this dish, I couldn't stop thinking about Sylvester the Cat and his catchphrase, "Sufferin' Succotash!" I came across this clip on YouTube. It's a cute spoof on Iron Chef (they call it "Aluminum Chef") in which Sylvesyer is pitted against Aluminum Chef Chinese "Twee-Tee" in a battle with the secret ingredient: Corn! What do you think Sylvester made?
Date Cooked: August 10, 2008
Degree of Difficulty: Medium