Round next of my weekday lunch series, where I post about dishes that’ll put PB&J to shame.
I love the flavor of buttery, salty, corn on the cob. I love it even more now that I’ve discovered the sweetest corn ever, from Toigo Orchards. Toigo sets up shop at the Dupont farmers’ market; their corn has apparently won “best at the market” several years in a row. The last time I bought it, I was told it was picked the day before; it doesn’t get much fresher than that. And having tried other ears, they really don’t compare. Some are too starchy, and others have a thick, almost leathery skin around the kernel, whereas Toigo’s ears are sweet, the thin-skinned kernels practically bursting with juice.
Having bought quite a few ears last week, I was searching for new things to do with them come week’s end. For dinner on Friday night, I served this succotash dish — a very simple play on that classic Southern staple. It’s got the flavor of sweet, salty cob corn but with just a drizzle of olive oil instead of the usual butter. I bulked up the succotash with some chopped green beans, which I left on the raw side, and panfried zucchini, which I essentially seared in a smoking but oil-less castiron pan, then allowed to soften in the serving bowl. The succotash gets a boost from freshly-squeezed lemon juice and a bit of the lemon’s zest, but other than that, olive oil, salt, and pepper are its only seasoning. When the produce is this good, you don’t want to doctor it up much more than that.
3 summer squash (I used a mix of long yellow squash and stubby green pattypan, but anything will work — you’re going for between 1.5 and 2 pounds.)
3 ears of corn, husks and strings removed, kernels cut from cob
1 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
4 tablespoons olive oil
Slice squash on bias into 1/2-inch slices. Heat a large, well-seasoned castiron pan or a nonstick pan over medium-high heat (If using stainless steel, add a bit of olive oil to lubricate.) When pan is very hot, place some of the squash slices in the pan in a single layer and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Flip and repeat with flip side, 3 minutes more. Sprinkle liberally with sald, then transfer to a large non-reactive bowl; squash will not feel completely soft, but they will soften as they sit. Continue cooking squash in batches until all slices have been cooked.
Next, add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to pan, and add corn. Cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute; salt, and transfer to bowl with squash. Add remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil and green beans to pan; cook about 1-2 minutes, salt, and transfer to bowl.
Stir vegetables until well-distributed. Grind some fresh black pepper into the bowl, and zest and squeeze the lemon overtop. Serve warm or at room temperature.