We should all make more succotash. Especially in the summer. And this is a great place to start.
I must acknowledge, however, the less-than-appetizing color of the butter beans. Those perky tomatoes and corn and basil are doing their best but they’re no match to buzz-killing drabness of the beans. They are also problematic. Miss Sara is going to ask you to find all kinds of beans, many of which you may never have heard of and none of which will be at your regular grocery store (unless you shop at the Piggly Wiggly or the A&P). I made a spectacle of myself in the frozen food aisle at my grocery store when I found the butter beans there. Some of you will understand my joy at then not having to make an extra trip to Whole Foods that day, which would have been my THIRD food purchase stop, counting the farmer’s market. We must celebrate out little victories and quotidian joys.
Mind you, these were pink butter beans, so perhaps the regular colored ones do not cook up to such a Soviet color.
Of course you can adapt this to make the best of whatever squash and peppers you find at the farmer’s market. I also found another version of this recipe (from The Foster’s Market Cookbook) that uses lima beans so try that if you don’t have the butter-bean-hunting luck I did.
Adapted from Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen
2 cups (about 1/2 lb.) shelled or frozen butter beans or lima beans
Salt and freshly-ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
2 summer squash, diced
4 ears corn, shucked
2 tomatoes, cored and chopped, or 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
Place beans and 4 cups water in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Add 1 teaspoon salt and a couple of grinds of black pepper and simmer until the beans are crisp-tender, about 15 minutes. Rinse and drain.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes longer. Add squash and cook an additional 5-6 minutes, or until it is brown around the edges.
While the vegetables are cooking, cut the corn from the cobs. Add the beans, corn kernels, tomatoes, and butter to the skillet, season with salt and pepper to taste and cook until tomatoes begin to break down and the corn is tender, about 3 minutes. Sitr in the basil and serve warm or at room temperature.