Sure Sign of Summertime: Succotash Salad

     My heart actually leapt a little when I pulled up to Shep’s Produce stand yesterday.  There written on cardboard were 2 little words that speak summer to me:  “Butter Beans“.  As long as Shep had some of the same sweet corn that he had last week, I knew what I was making yesterday afternoon, Succotash Salad.

Cleaning them is the most time-consuming part.

     Like so many things, my love of butter beans came later in life when I finally had some that were fresh and hadn’t been cooked in bacon fat all day.  Boiling them in lightly salted water for about 12 minutes is all that it takes to get rid of the slightly bitter taste of the raw bean.  Pair it with some sweet corn and a light dressing, and you’ve got a go-to side dish for the whole summer.

     Although this week feels hot enough for butter beans to be ripening on our local vines, Shep told me that these beans were picked in South Carolina.  Harvested in the fields on Tuesday, they were on a truck Tuesday night and at Shep’s stand on Libbie Avenue just south of Patterson Avenue by 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday.  When his “Butter Beans” sign goes up, his quart bags full go fast, so I was lucky to get mine around 10:15.

Shep's Stand

     With Shep’s assurances that this week’s corn was even better tasting than the corn that I had used for my Frogmore Stew last week, I headed home with the beans, 3 ears of corn and some other June goodies to make my first batch of Succotash Salad for the season.  My recipe is adapted from one that Southern Living featured a few years back.  You can easily add more kick to it by upping the Tabasco.

3 cups fresh butter beans (that’s about what comes in Shep’s quart baggie)
2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 3 large ears)
3 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or thinly sliced green onions
3/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

     Cook butter beans in boiling salted water to cover 12 minutes or until tender; drain. 

     Sauté corn in 1 Tbsp. hot oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp-tender.  This steps brings out the sweetness of the corn without making it mushy.

     Whisk together lemon juice, next 4 ingredients, and remaining 2 1/2  Tbsp. oil in a large bowl.  Stir in corn and butter beans.  Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 3 days.

     This side dish just tastes like summer and was the perfect accompaniment for the rest of our super fresh supper.  Can’t wait to tell you about the other components in another post.  In the meantime, guess what else came up on the truck fresh-picked from South Carolina that is now ripening in this bag? 

(Hint:  it is absolutely the sweetest part of summer :-).)

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