summer succotash with bacon and croutons

[Er, croutons not pictured.] Here’s the thing: If you told me you were serving succotash with or for dinner, I’d inwardly groan. People, I’ve had all sorts of succotash — a summery stew of corn and lima beans, often with tomatoes, yet still so bland that no added butter or cream saves it for me, and when adding butter and cream don’t save something for me, you know something is terribly wrong — and can’t think of one that I wanted to run home and make for myself. It might be because it’s usually in the off-season, when the above come frozen and no, it’s just not the same. It might also be because I once had a roommate that would open cans of succotash, not drain it, heat it in the microwave and eat it straight and guys, it’s been many, many years and still, my stomach turns. Don’t ever live with me. I’m a jerk.

corn, limas and cranberry beans
split cherries

But this is different. This was a midsummer dinner dream, the result of another bleachingly sunny, sauna of a day when I staggered around the market and realized if I put this stand’s corn and that stand’s shell beans and those purty tomatoes together, I might make a succotash that was worth writing home about. I wondered if you could pork it up. I wondered if I could pass it off as a main course. I came home with the haul of all hauls and discovered, as I often do, that Gourmet (moment of silence) had beaten me to it more than a decade ago. I love it when they do that.

lima beansspeckled and pink cranberry beansmmm, sweet crunchy corntomatoes, so fresh and so sweet

I shucked and shucked*. Hey, did you know fresh limas are hard to shuck? I did not. Their pods were leathery and they kept me busy for a while, but it was completely worth it. Cranberry beans are not only the prettiest of the bean family, they just tumble out of their pods with almost no effort. A big knife took the corn right off the cob, I halved tomatoes, fried maple bacon, made garlic croutons, drizzled the whole lot with sherry vinegar and with one spoonful, made peace with succotash. Or succotash when it tastes like this, so busy with flavor — zingy, tangy and bold! crunchy and sweet! full of song! — that it’s a great big bowl of summer.

beans, maters, corn, onion and limas
corn, tomatoes, onion and garlic
succotash with bacon, croutons

* I think I deserve an award for resisting a painful shucking all night long reference.

One year ago: Sour Cherry Slab Pie
Two years ago: Nectarine, Mascarpone and Gingersnap Tart
Three years ago: Pearl Couscous with Olives and Roasted Tomatoes

Summer Succotash with Bacon and Garlic Croutons
Adapted, barely, from Gourmet

I tossed this dish with garlic croutons (below). You could cut the pieces of bread thinner (into 6 1/3-inch slices), and spoon the succotash over it (Gourmet’s suggestion). Two other ideas: nixing the bread, and make this into a pasta or farro salad with some additional vinegar and oil for “dressing”.

Serves 6, 4 as a main

1 pound fresh shell beans in pod or 1 cup frozen baby lima beans (I used 1/2 pound fresh cranberry beans, 1/2 pound fresh lima beans)
1/4 pound bacon (about 4 slices)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small Vidalia onion or other sweet onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
3/4 pound cherry tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pints), halved
Fresh kernels from 4 ears corn
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, plus more to taste
1/4 cup packed small fresh basil leaves (I used less)
1/4 cup packed small fresh arugula leaves (I used more)

Shell fresh beans if using. In a small saucepan of boiling salted water cook beans over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 5 minutes for fresh or frozen lima beans, 20 to 25 for fresh cranberry beans. In a sieve drain beans and rinse under cold running water to stop cooking. Set aside.

In a skillet cook bacon over moderate heat until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels and crumble. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat from skillet. Add oil to bacon fat in skillet and cook onion over moderate heat, stirring, until just softened. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add tomatoes, corn, and vinegar and cook, stirring, until tomatoes just begin to lose their shape. Remove skillet from heat and gently stir in cooked beans and half of bacon. Cool succotash to room temperature and gently stir in basil and arugula, and salt, pepper and additional sherry vinegar to taste. Toss with croutons (below, if using) and sprinkle with remaining bacon before serving.

Garlic Croutons

1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
1 round loaf crusty bread
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Cut three 1-inch-thick slices from middle of loaf and brush bread with oil. Lightly oil a well-seasoned ridged grill pan and heat over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Grill bread until golden brown on both sides. Alternately, you can run toasts under the broiler for a minute. Remove from heat and immediately rub bread both sides with cut side of garlic and sprinkle with salt. Cut into cubes and toss into succotash.

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175 comments on summer succotash with bacon and croutons

  1. rita

    Now I know what to do with all the beautiful summer heirloom cherry tomatoes I’ve been seeing! I wonder if I could use my beloved turkey bacon to the same effect or if I should go and splurge on the real thing. Although anything with maple in the name gets my vote…

  2. I have loved this recipe for years; it was in one of the “best of…” books that gourmet put out. And I have to say that I’m patting myself on the back for actually knowing about a recipe before YOU! AND I have to say thanks b/c you just reminded me that I have ears of corn in the bottom of the fridge, basil in the pot outside, and pretty little yellow grape tomatoes from the market. voila, dinner is served. (FYI this is also delicious next day as a cold lunch) Thanks!

  3. When I first saw the picture I thought the corn was large cous cous (Mograbiah) – but no it’s corn. I was always reading about succotash in my American cook books / magazines and never quite understood what it was. Now I get it. It looks good!

  4. Ariel

    Another example of bacon makes everything better. I’ll be trying this soon when I have tons of cherry tomatoes at my disposal.

  5. Um, this is my first encounter with succotash other than when Sylvester says it and it looks amazing. You DID put maple bacon in it, though so I guess it would have to be amazing. Congrats on conquering the recipe!

  6. deb

    I forgot to add: We had this for dinner. Like, main course. With a guest. At first I was thinking, wow, I’m really just serving a bowl of corn [and you know, Porch Swings] for dinner to two grown men. But with the bread and bacon it felt really hearty, the kind of meal that gives rather than saps energy. In a July like we’re having in NYC, it helps!

  7. Tamara

    @Recipe for Delicious–thanks for the Sylvethter reference!!

    I’m so jealous that up here in Vermont we have nothing like the produce that NJ is producing for you–beautiful and interesting beans and my tomatoes have been green for weeks!

    Also, your child has the most splendiferous head of hair I’ve ever seen (or, at least equal to my friend Judi’s daughter Hannah’s hair, which when it was long was supernatural).

  8. BreakanEgg

    Another fabulous offering consisting of ‘ordinary’ ingredients, this is one beautiful looking “salad” that I’d eat and serve to a picky husband. Another thing I must say – I love your blog for the very reason the recipes you post goes a long way to fighting preconceived notions of American food as all fatty, fried-golden-brown (not that there is anything wrong with ‘golden-brown’) but I don’t want ‘golden brown’ all the time. Please keep up the blog… thank you!!!

  9. elizabeth

    I remember our first succotash revelation. Who knew? I actually like them better than favas.

    Now we have succotash most weeks in the summer and yesterday I also bought cranberry beans for no reason, with no plan because they were finally available at a decent size. Along with a big slab of applewood smoked bacon. (To be used for home grown tomato BLT’s but there is enough bacon and tomatoes for both!)

    P.S. Yes, limas are hard to shuck. Fortunately one of our stands sells them shucked “by Grandma B.” in addition to unshucked. I do love Grandma B.

  10. Is there any bigger loss to the cooking world than Gourmet? I think not. When I make this, I’m not even going to call this succotash, because of the terrible childhood memories associated with it in my posse – soggy, flavorless corn; hard-as-rock lima beans. Gross. But this, anything with fresh tomatoes and bacon has me in love! I just got a fresh batch of sweet corn from my csa yesterday – I think I’m going to grill the corn over hickory chips first. I love that smoky flavor….

  11. Charlotte

    I’ve never known what succotash was – thanks for the info and the recipe. I just made a tart yesterday with zucchini, corn, tomatoes, basil and herbed feta just because of all the lovely veggies at the market and fruit stand right now. Yum. Hmm – I got organic cranberry beans last year at the market – need to look again for them.

  12. Hi Deb – David Lebovitz just introduced me to you via fb (I knew where was a good reason to have fb). Thanks for the lovely recipe for succotash, now I know what I will make with the cherry tomatoes from my garden.

  13. Leslie Kennedy

    ohhh boy this looks delicious! We just had the thai-style chicken and it was out of this world! My little girl, who will be 2 next month, said Wicious Mama! (it means delicious) Thanks again!

  14. Amanda

    It sounds yummy… but. I don’t have a source of cranberry beans around here, and limas are ewwww! (I was never made to eat them because my parents hate them too, so I guess I never developed a tolerance for the texture).

    Would black beans work? Or would they be too mushy? Maybe black eyed peas? I think I can get those frozen, which would help the firmness factor.

    Great blog, I just discovered it last month and I’m really enjoying the archives, too.

  15. this will be awesome, I live close to a huge farm that specializes in corn and it is perfect right now! wondering how it would be without the bacon? {I know, but still].
    thanks for a great summer recipe [and adorable pic of “our” boy]!!!

  16. Susan

    This looks so fresh and colorful. I have to admit, though; I love the simple original succotash, made from fresh, well cooked (til soft) limas and crisp fresh corn steaming in an oniony, buttery sauce. I guess it’s one of those things you had to grow up eating. Not from canned vegs though. Canned corn, including those baby corn ears, is in my top 5 most awful tasting foods on the planet. I have always loved lima, or any shell type of beans, even as a kid. Can’t wait to try this version.

  17. I am most impressed by your shucking abilities! This might be a succotash I would consider trying, the kind I have ever been served is done with canned corn and canned tomatoes, and let me tell you…it left something to be desired! Thanks for the great recipe!

  18. Nicole

    Before you know it, Jacob will be able to help you with those beans! The awesomest (well, the most helpful) part of having kids.

  19. Haha, everytime I see succotash I think of Sylvester the cat. Is he the one who is always saying something about succotash? Or am I crazy? Either way, this looks really yummy and perfect for an August dinner!

  20. JenB.

    This is the first time I think I’ve read a recipe and got up and made it! Had everything (or at least a close version) on hand and it was a delicious fridge cleaner of a dish. Going to grill up some steaks to have along with it for dinner tonight :)

  21. Vashon Island

    I am so jealous of all the fresh produce available to you, Deb. We are only now starting to have summer weather. Jalapeno Peppers and/or Tabasco Sauce really livens up this dish. I do prefer Black beans over the limas (childhood memories of canned lima beans).

  22. EG

    I have almost all the right stuff in my house right now! But we hit those heirloom cherry tomatoes a little hard in our omelette this morning, so maybe next week!

  23. Suzanne Goin has an amazing succotash recipe in her “Sunday Suppers at Lucques” cookbook – lots of olive oil and lemon juice, zucchini as well. And tons of fresh herbs. Delicious

  24. c.c.

    you know how you feel about Gourmet about beating you to all those good ideas? that’s how i feel about your website. the past three days, i have thought, “man, i have a lot of X in the fridge. if only i had a really great recipe for X with A and B and C characteristics.” and then i go to the Smitten Kitchen and ask Deb. and Deb Does.

  25. Kat

    This recipe can easily be adapted to a vegetarian version that still retains the richness and smokiness of the original (i.e. the bacon part).

    Here are a few ideas I wanted to try:

    1. You could grill almost any/all of the ingredients to infuse them with smokiness. I love corn grilled in the husk, and bet it would be delicious in this succotash.

    2. Deeply carmelized onions share many tasty qualities with bacon: sweet, smoky, rich, salty, awesome. The recipe instructions would be almost the same. Just let them cook much longer in your pan before adding the other vegetables, easy as pie.

    3. Smoky-sweet spices like a good paprika or harissa blend might also taste really good in this.

    4. For those that are so inclined, some vegetarians swear by Morningstar Farms “Bacon”.

    5. Many recipes for succotash rely on a small amount of a flavorful fat (here, the bacon grease the veggies are cooked in). I’m thinking you could achieve a similar effect in one of two ways: first, you might cook the vegetables in a rich, European style butter instead of bacon drippings. Or, to make this a vegan / lighter dish, you could cook the veggies with your standard oil, and drizzle with a decadent olive / sesame / pumpkin seed oil before serving. Key word there is “decadent”–the most luscious oil you own, one you could eat with a spoon.

    Anywho, those were just a couple of suggestions I had for the vegans and vegetarians out there. I hope they help! I can’t wait to go pull some tomatoes from my garden and try out this summery reinvention of that mushy Thanksgiving classic.

    Perhaps we need to come up with some new name, in order to disassociate it from those play-dough-cooked lima beans so many remember from childhood?

  26. Rachel

    Along this same line is the summer succotash currently appearing as a side dish at Flatbush Farm in Brooklyn (but you can order it as a main and it is definitely a full meal!). In their version, fava beans are used instead a cranberry or lima beans, and they throw in some quartered little red new potatoes, which ups the heartiness factor. So delish, definitely worth making a trip across the East River!

  27. What a beautiful dish. I can remember my grandparents shelling limas for what seemed like hours, and while the end result was in fact a bit mushy, mushy limas still hold a special place in my heart. I think, however, that the grown-up version of me would rather have your dish (even though this Southerner will be buying a bag of shelled limas at the farmers market!)

  28. Della

    Yum! I always cringe at the name Succotash-makes me think of slimy concoctions containing boiled okra! Thanks for giving me a new mind set. And Jacob’s going to have the greatest head of ringlets! Your posts are always so fun to read and so interestingly written that I thought you might want to know about a typo– “Or succotash when it taste like this, so busy with flavor”

  29. Kirsten

    This dish makes me so happy! I discovered fresh limas and butter beans when I moved south, succotash became a summer staple, pretty much exactly as you’ve done it here. Actually, what I do is I render the bacon, cook the beans in some of the grease with some chicken broth, then add a bit of cream and the corn after 10 minutes, and simmer then 10 minutes more. I toss in the tomatoes at the end so that they just wilt from the heat, but don’t cook down.

  30. Kathy in St. Louis

    Deb, when you post recipes with ingredients that I don’t often see at my own farmers’ markets (fresh limas and cranberry beans, for instance), I find myself curious as to what price your vendors ask. Actually, I wonder that fairly often, but I wonder it of fellow Smitten readers, too. We all live in such diverse areas, and I’m always keen to visit farmers’ markets in other cities.

    For instance, we have bought two half-pecks of local peaches so far this summer; we paid $10 for the first and $8 for the second. Each half-peck had about two dozen peaches, so we figure we paid about a quarter a peach for the second batch — a terrific deal, we felt, for such bliss. I’d love to hear what other readers pay for peaches and other fresh, local produce.

    Lovely-looking recipe, by the way. When we run across fresh beans soon, we’ll make it!

    1. deb

      Kathy — I’ll keep a closer watch. I would say that we pay a lot for some foods (tomatoes, cherries, berries) and that others are remarkably affordable (heads of lettuce, squash, carrots, peas). I am sure roadside farm stands are more affordable and that we’re definitely paying for the convenience (and inconvenience to farmers) of having fresh stuff trucked into NYC four times a week.

  31. Sarah

    Deb, you are like a birthing coach when it comes to cooking/baking. I actually made my first crust/pie (sour cherry). Brilliant. Thanks for walking me through it. Sorry this post probably belongs under a header other than “succotash”

  32. Della

    Kathy- I am always embarrassed reading what Deb can’t find in the produce dept–here in San Jose we always have everything, it seems! Anyway, the farmer’s market I go to sells all the stone fruits for $2 a pound. They have white and yellow peaches, nectarines, white nectarines, apricots, plums and pluots.

  33. Kathy in St. Louis

    Della, holy cow — now I’M the embarrassed one! So far, the lowest price I’ve seen for local peaches (just to name one example) is 99 cents a pound; nectarines and plums are averaging around $1.50 per pound, though I’m not sure many of those are grown locally. Anyhow, Della, I have to ask: what kinds of things do you have in San Jose that many other Smitten readers probably can’t access locally? Oh, and how long is your stone fruit season, and do you have any favorite varieties and growers?

  34. I guess succotash isn’t just for SUC-kas anymore! Your succotash looks amazing and summery and fresh, and like it would taste good straight out of the fridge, or as a side for barbeque. The only thing for me is that I’d like to see the corn charred and tomatoes blistered. Mmmmm.

  35. I love fresh corn, and I heard the local ones grown in MA might finally be popping up in the Farmers Markets, so the timing of this post is perfect. I personally love succotash of all different sizes and shapes, though I’ve never tried making one with freshly chucked lima beans!

  36. elizabeth

    Dear Kathy in St. Louis,

    Here in California, it seems like we have everything all the time (I’m in fairly Southern Cali and the climate is very Mediterranean). Yesterday at our market was very typical: winter and summer squashes; tons of stone fruits; avocados; oranges, lemons, and sweet (Persian) limes; every choy and green known to man; fresh cranberry, dragon/purple, and lima beans; lamb’s quarter, purslane, and dandelions; radicchio; corn; various Asian and latin peppers; Japanese, heirloom, roma, cherry, and other tomatoes; and dozens of Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Indian specialty vegetables and spices; all kinds of potatoes, carrots, onions; and shallots; ; blueberries, blackberries (not so hot though), ollalieberries, and strawberries; a wide variety of goat cheese, eggs, grass fed beef, and herbs. And much, much more! Most things run between 1-2 dollars a pound; higher prices are for organic or for farmers who don’t use pesticides. We can even get cactus paddles although they’re not really my thing.

    We don’t get ramps though! Or morels. Also our mangoes are quite late this year, due to low temperatures. :( We have stone fruit for quite a few months but I personally only think it’s only worth eating in July, August, and a few weeks of September. I make a lot of jam!

  37. erin b

    Succotash always reminds of being little in the summer. My job was to shuck the corn. My mom would try not break up the stripped corn too much, leaving it in one or two inch pieces. She’d fry those first in butter/bacon fat and add them last, tossing them gently into the succotash. We called them corn cookies. What could be better than chunks of blistery fried corn in the midst of lima beans?! Love the addtion of basil and arugula – not in our original family version. It was just straight southern.

  38. Laura-Leigh

    This recipe looks lovely, but I cannot call it succotash. Mama and Granny raised this NC girl to believe that true succotash is just lima beans and corn and no other veggies (and never from a can!). This won’t stop me from trying it, it will just force me to give the recipe a new name before serving it to older female relatives.

  39. So I didn’t know what succotash was until recently at which point I discovered that I make a very similar summer salad using black beans in place of lima. But I think the lima look really pretty. I don’t know why you’d ruin fresh salad with a lot of cream. Your vinegar solutions seems just right to me.

  40. Jenn

    Having grown up forced to eat ridiculous amounts of succotash (a staple in Lancaster County PA during the summer) and really hating it, I have to say this recipe may change my mind. Adding bacon of course doesn’t hurt. And fresh tomatoes and basil and arugula. Plus not overcooking it until falls to mush. I just may have to rename it for myself. Bacontash?

  41. My apologies to the vegetarians, but I agree with the carnivores that bacon saves everything! (Although I confess that I am a turkey bacon sort of gal.)

    Now please tell me, how is it that your corn looks so nice and neat in your bowl, and is not all over your floor?

  42. I feel strange saying this, but I have never had succotash in my life! I suppose I need to try this so I can say I’ve had it, but probably if I try your version first it will ruin me for all future succotash experiences. ;)

  43. The instant I can figure out where French people hide that hypothetical fresh corn they put into cans, I’m making this. It looks lovely! (It’s not at my farmer’s market, it’s not at my vegetable shops, it’s not in the supermarket…)

    ps …does anyone else get “Groove is in the Heart” stuck in their head every single time they hear the word succotash…? No…? Ok…..

  44. I think the Momofuku cookbook has a succotash I’ve been looking to try for while, but is it just me or has the corn not been all that great so far? Hopefully it will get better, since now I have this to add to succotash’s to try before summer’s end!

  45. Kim in MD

    This looks like the perfect summer dish! I grew up avoiding succotash at all costs (my mom served the canned kind (ick)! This fresh version with bacon would be a hit in my family for sure!

    I love the photo of Jacob playing the coasters…how does he manage to get cuter everyday? :-)

  46. Never made succotash, I never thought it sounded appetizing. I mean seriously, it’s called *succotash*. Which means I’ll probably never make it, I’m shallow like that. But the recipe does look very aesthetically appealing, just love your photos.

  47. This looks so delicious especially with all the in season veggies. I will definitely be trying this after my trip to the farmers market this week. Thank you for sharing!

  48. Kathy in St. Louis

    Deb, on the higher cost of tomatoes, cherries, and berries — it’s that way here, too. I have always assumed it’s largely because these items are labor-intensive, tender, and quite prone to bruising and damage. (When I pick my own berries, I’m reminded that growers who sell them in neat pints and quarts deserve every penny they get!) Carrots, potatoes, squash, and the like can take a bit of a beating, which contributes to their lower price, I think. Like you said, though, produce (and almost everything else?) just simply costs more in The Big City.

    I bought about seven pounds total of Bing cherries (grown in Michigan) this year at about $3 per pound. Compared to the Door County (Wisconsin) cherries I rarely bought at the Dane County farmers’ market (shoutout to Madison!), I think that’s a slightly better price.

    Berries? I can’t recall that we bought any raspberries, but we did pick up blackberres (California, maybe? we couldn’t resist the temporary low price at our locally-owned grocery) and blueberries (again, Michigan). Can’t recall those prices. We did buy a few pounds of local strawberries in May for a couple bucks a pound.

    On beans: I started seeing a couple three vendors at the (producer-only) Dane County market selling shelled, dry, black and pinto beans last summer. I think they were going for $4 per pound. I don’t recall seeing limas at market when I lived in Madison, but I’m fairly certain I saw cranberry beans at some point. I know for certain that a few Hmong farmers bring long beans, for example; I think they sold for a couple bucks a pound.

    Elizabeth at #67 — I’m drooling at your choices! Do you stick to a menu to facilitate wise buying at the market or do you buy willy-nilly? (I favor a mix of both. Ahem.) And do you make traditional jam or do you stray into freezer jam? Care to share any tantalizing combinations?

  49. Jan

    I too discovered this incredible recipe just this summer. I grow a patio garden of grape tomatoes, green peppers, 15 types of herbs and other such stuff. I am also a Weight Watcher and if you don’t over do the bacon, it’s totally OK! I only made a few changes, used some of my green peppers and used frozen baby limas. Arugula hates the Southern heat, so parsley it was. Used fresh from the farm sweet Silver Queen corn (OMG) and nixed the croutons. UNBELIEVABLY SCRUMPTIDELICIOUS! Another great from Gourmet 2007 is SUMMER GARDEN TORTELLONI…I use Buitoni fresh chicken and prosciutto tortellini and it’s to die for!

    I just found this site a few weeks ago and now it’s my “go to” site for recipes. Thanks from the sunny SC coast!!

  50. Jan

    Oh and by the way….one year I grew Silver Queen Corn in containers on my deck. It was hilarious to drive by and see 8′ cornstalks on my beachhouse deck! They actually produced corn albeit only about 4 small ears per stalk. But they were so sweet and juicy you could eat them raw, no lie! If I had the space now, I’d do it again!

  51. heather em

    Deb, this post is timely because i recently hit up the California Science Center in L.A. (very ‘meh’), and the best part of the visit was – wait for it – the succotash we had in the museum’s cafe. i had never in my life tasted succotash, only heard it referred to, ‘sufferingly’, in Sylvester cartoons. i didn’t even know what it WAS, only that it looked umpteen times more desirable than the neighboring Taco Bell fare. i needed protein, and i saw beans, so i went for it.
    Needless to say, it was the most singularly fresh and delicious mélange i had ever forked into my hungry mouth. The tanginess, the zing, the fresh corn, the edamame (yes, i believe these stood in for your limas), the basil. i couldn’t get enough! There were garbanzos and kidneys, too, and i am making this. No more minestrone fate for my frozen beans. It’s summer succotash time! Thanks for the kick in the right direction :)

  52. Jennifer

    I finally realized what it is I like about your writing style, sure the pictures are pretty and I usually want to eat the recipes you write about, but after I read the teaser in my RSS feed I always want to keep reading to “see what happens”. Like I don’t already know, a summer succotash in this case… I don’t imagine I’ll make this, maybe it’s the change that’s happened from going from 1 kid to 2 kids or maybe I’m just lazy but I can’t imagine shelling a whole pound of beans. A frozen pizza takes more energy than I have many days. But I still love reading about your succotash.

  53. Amy M

    This may be sacrilegious but I’ve never had succotash with beans! We make it with corn, red onion and sliced okra. The secret to it being super tasty (aside from the butter) is a few generous dashes of Old Bay and Tabasco. Sounds odd but it is delicious.

  54. Tirzah

    another crouton substitution for the healthy-minded: try mixing this with quinoa! you may have to add a bit more fat depending on how much the quinoa soaks up, but it’ll definitely make the meal filling and, bonus, you’ll get a lot of fiber/protein/vitamins/minerals. and it will taste good.

  55. K im

    Oh. My. Goodness. Such wonderful flavor from such simple ingredients! I used a pound of frozen limas that had been sitting in my freezer hoping for a great recipe combined with corn, tomatoes and garlic from my CSA. I picked fresh basil from my herb garden, but totally forgot to include it. It didn’t matter, this is one of the tastiest summer dishes I have ever had. Sure, the basil would have improved it, but don’t let a lack of basil keep you from trying this yummy recipe. Deb, YOU ROCK!

  56. This was one of my favorite dishes that my mom used to make for us when I was little. She would put okra in hers and it was soo good. I can’t wait to try it with bacon.

  57. These photos were just too much temptation to bear–as soon as i read this i invited friends over for dinner, knowing i needed an excuse to make this. when I added the corn to the frying onions/fat/garlic, it never cooked, despite leaving it over the heat for over 30 mins! It was like I’d used plantains in a recipe that called for bananas. starchy, hard, terrible. Are there different kinds of ears of corn in the world, and I just didn’t know it until now? Granted, I am quite far afield from standard american corn (former soviet republic of Georgia), but it never occurred to me it would act so differently. guess i’ll have to wait until i’m stateside to make this properly.

  58. Pam

    Yes, being a southern girl, I like throwing in fresh okra too, but have never added basil, arugula or vinegar of any type before. I must say I loved this variation. Thanks for this great twist on an old favorite!

  59. Jen

    Ugh. I HATE succotash. And growing up in PA Dutch Country there has been a LOT of that yucky pickled corn and lime bean combo in my life. BUT THIS LOOKS GOOD. YUM!!!!!!!!

  60. Nadia

    So THAT’S what succotash is, hahahaahaa! Like some of the others here, I only ever thought of it in connection with a certain Looney Tunes cat with a lisp! Looks lovely and summery, but I’m mostly here waiting for the next fabulous SK baking creation.

  61. Andrea

    I recently put together a tasting dinner for my local meat farmer and made some “bacon cups” with a couple mini-muffin pans. I filled them with succotash I made with the bacon grease…it was def. a revelation. I can’t wait to use some fresh beans (had to use frozen this time) and throw in some tomatoes!

  62. Lindsey W.

    This is a great summer recipe…I’m very excited about this one….I could top it with some prawns….or pork loin..It’s the perfect recipe to brighten up the summer. Great job :)

  63. MJ

    Oh, how I’ve missed reading this wonderful blog. You’ve honestly introduced to some of my favorite desserts, and this dish might actually inspire me to give up my shucking virginity. Your blog actually helped give me the courage to start up my own food blog, which I’ll be updating for the first time tonight! I really hope it goes well.

  64. I’ve never heard of that salad (?), but it sounds great. I think that dish, a little fresh bread and a nice glas of vine makes a perfect dinner. I think I will try it this weekend.Great job, nice and mouthwatering photos, like the recipe. :-)

  65. elizabeth

    Dear Kathy in St. Louis,

    Thank you for noticing our bounty! The scary part is I thought of about twenty other things after I posted plus two of our largest Asian vendors don’t post signs in any language so there is a LOT more.

    I do write a menu every week before we go. We are (trying to be) frugal. You can guess how well that works out some days. I am a big fan of Deborah Madison’s book, Local Flavors, for both menu planning and dealing with unexpected items. Since I know most of my vendors, I know what is likely to be coming up but there is always a surprise that needs to be worked in. Like this week’s cranberry beans! I’ve actually planted my own this year, thinking we would never get any (one farmer planted them but brought them in immature, not knowing exactly what they were). Then last week, BEHOLD! As I am freakishly fond of cranberry beans, we bought a ton and will be eating them all week.

    I have some farm blood in me which apparently prevents me from doing anything as simple as freezer jam. :) Only traditional jam, preferably put up on a hot day, will quell my genetic desire to can. I am best known for my vanilla plum jam (plums, vanilla bean, cinnamon, allspice, orange and lemon juices) but it is fairly involved. Feel free to drop me a line at if you really want it!

    P.S. We made the recipe on Sunday. I suppose it’s the bacon fat but should vegetables really taste this good? It’s almost scary.

  66. My husband (my picky, vegetable-hating, meat-and-potatoes husband) and I are enthusiastically polishing off our bowls (!) of this as I type! It was extra-delicious. My beans were edamame (2/3) and okra (1/3), both frozen, unfortunately. But still amazing! Thanks again Deb :)

  67. Jenny

    I saw the word succotash and had horrible visions of that scary item sold in freezer bags. This recipe looks so good that I couldn’t wait to buy bacon for the first time in at least 20 years just so I could try it (I’ve purchased turkey bacon and Morningstar Farms fake-bacon, but not “real” bacon). My sister was horrified when I told her I was enjoying succotash for dinner. I’m sending her a link to your blog now.

  68. Katie M.

    I too hadn’t heard of succotash except in cartoons, but I was intrigued. There werent any fresh beans that looked overly appealing so I used fresh peas instead. This was really really tasty. I added some “fake bacon bits” (which I love, weird I know) to add some crunch to it. Thank you so much for the delicious recipes and baby pictures!

  69. deb can I just say over here, in Australia, I am an eighteen year old aspiring baker who is simply obsessed with your blog.

    It would just be so great if you read my little blog, I make so many of your recipes. :)

    Please never stop posting, your culinary habits delight me to the ends of the earth.

    The Cookie Jar.

  70. I never had succotash. But after this beautiful documentation I think I have to cook it quickly and try it. You easily convinced me. I think I have to go on looking for something else ,too. Your blog seems to be very useful. Go on!

  71. Lisa

    I made this yesterday and it was fantastic! I added pieces of chicken to it and used pancetta instead of the bacon and red wine vinaigrette instead of the sherry vinegar because I had those on hand but I don’t think it changed the flavor much. Definitely a keeper dish!

  72. Cayla

    We made this last night with your rosemary flatbread
    9 instead of garlic croutons, and it was delicious!

  73. Jennifer

    This looks delish! I’ve never made any succotash before. I might just make this as a side dish and pair it with some dry rub ribs that I’ll be making. I’m thinking of roasting the tomatoes first, what do you guys think? :)

  74. WOW! I just made this for the grandparents for dinner. Grandpa said, “This doesn’t look like any succotash I’ve ever seen”. We all loved it. This is one of the best things I’ve made all Summer. I subbed red wine vinegar for the sherry, and it turned out great.

  75. MelissaBKB

    Pretty good! I used a 1 lb. bag of dried baby lima beans, 2 cans of corn instead of fresh, substituted cider vinegar + cheap red wine for the sherry vinegar, ~1 tbsp dried basil instead of fresh, and served it with a handful of torn fresh spinach on top. And I didn’t serve it with any bread. I kept thinking More Bacon!!! haha. Between the corn, tomatoes, and bacon, this is more than sufficient as a main course. I’m going to take someone’s advice from up top and make some quinoa to eat with it today. Certainly the best succotash I’ve ever had! :)

  76. jarrelle sartwell

    YUMMMMM is all i have to say! i made this for dinner last night and omitted the bacon for turkey bacon and lef out the bread, although those croutons sound amazing! i could at this all summer long. and for my beans, i used edamame! it was fabulous and had left overs for lunch today!

  77. dana

    just made this for dinner! so fabulous! added chopped up bbq chicken right off the grill and avocado. amazing. and having the rasperry gratin for dessert! summer at its finest. thanks for another amazing dinner.

  78. I’m afraid I’m one of those whose stomach would turn at the sight — just the thought! — of eating canned succotash from the can. I haven’t liked succotash since I was forced to eat it as a child. Maybe my maturity and your recipe for a fresh succotash will convince me to give it a try.

  79. Amanda

    I made a variation on this. I made it for two people, so I cut down on the main ingredients but kept the rest roughly the same. I had no sherry vinegar so I used white wine vinegar and reduced the amount slightly. I used canned black beans (heresy, I know, but honestly, they are what my hubby likes) because I couldn’t find any fresh beans, or even frozen ones (except limas, which I don’t like or edamame, which the hubby doesn’t like). I didn’t use any arugula, instead I upped the basil a bit because I love basil. And I used a shallot instead of onion. Oh, and when I made the croutons I used some olive oil in the pan too, along with a little dried oregano.

    I think omitting the bacon for a vegetarian dish would work all right, just use some olive oil in making the croutons so it doesn’t lack richness and maybe add a bit more salt.

    I like it quite well and may make it again as long as I can get affordable cherry tomatoes.

  80. Linda

    I have read your site for quite awhile, but have been intimidated to comment, much less make anything! I can’t always find some of your ingredients. But this one I figured I could do! I altered slightly in that I halved the amount of limas and added fresh okra (plus a few other small tweeks). My Mom claims she used to make this for us as kids, but I don’t remember it. And while she remembers hers being more stew-like – that is it had more liquid, she gave your version a thumbs-up! Of course, my Mom is of the era where they used alot of canned vegetables – in this case, the tomatos & the corn. She agrees the fresh veggies make it taste extra special. It was such a pretty dish too!

  81. Laura

    This was the perfect weekend dish! I couldn’t find any arugula near me, so I tried serving it over avocado halves … delicious! And I’m still eating it over avocado or sliced tomatoes.

  82. Amber Wagley

    Thank you for posting this recipe. It’s one of my new favorites! Loved the freshness of the veggies with the oh so satisfying tastes of bacon and garlic croutons.

  83. Martin

    excellent recipe – I couldn’t find either fresh or frozen lima beans at my grocery store; instead, I used frozen soy beans – delicious! thanks

  84. Momo Lambkin

    Thank you for this recipe!

    I am vegetarian, so instead of bacon, I sautéed up some thinly sliced soy dogs with maple syrup. And I didn’t have bread to make croutons with so I just tossed with orzo. So delicious!!!

    Also, in Canada we don’t see a lot of fresh Lima beans (or frozen for that matter). I got them in a can.

  85. AL

    Long time reader, first time commenter–I took Kat’s (#48) advice and substituted caramelized onions for the bacon. I proceeded with the recipe as is from that point (starting with what was, for me, a second batch of onions.) I used speckled butter beans and spinach instead of arugula.

    It was a phenomenal substitution, it provided a perfectly flavorful fat and really perked up the rest of the veggies and balances well with the sherry vinegar. The overall effect might be a little sweet than the original dish, but wasn’t a problem when paired with the garlic croutons. Thank you Deb and Kat!

  86. erin

    Consider this my introduction into the improvisational nature of cooking. (As opposed to baking. I am, in terms of personality, most definitely a baker.) I went to the GreenMarket late, and couldn’t get shelling beans, so I got some mystery unlabeled whole beans, blanched them for thirty seconds, and cut them into one inch pieces. No arugala left either, so I went with escarole. Was vigilant for the moment when the tomatoes “just start to lose shape,” and then, oops, overcooked. Did not wait for it to cool before adding the greens, so they kind of wilted. And cut down on the bacon a bit, so at the last minute added some shoyu for some umami (hate that word.) Despite all my efforts to screw it up, this was freaking delicious. Something about the acidity of the sherry vinegar, meatiness of the bacon, sweetness of the corn and tomatoes, the herbaceousness of the basil. With a poached egg, cause I was rolling SK style. Deb, you are awesome. Everyone, make this!

  87. Even my meat and potatoes loving boyfriend loved this. Good call on the bacon and croutons. I also added a sprinkling of salt and pepper to the final product and used white wine vinegar instead of sherry vinegar.

    This is the perfect way to use that late summer corn! Thank you, Deb.

  88. Sue Muckle

    Tip on the fresh limas – use scissors to slice around the outer edge of each pod. Then, press and pop out the beans! I used tender, fresh baby limas from my garden. Perfect recipe!

  89. Betsy

    This is my new favorite meal. Really. I didn’t have any cranberry beans, but it was great anyway, and I just served it with big slices of ciabatta-turned-garlic-bread. My husband and I have been making it once a week for the past 4 weeks now. Thanks for this, and for all of the fabulousity that is your website!

  90. Nancy

    So glad summer has returned and I can make this again! I roast the corn and char the tomatoes on the grill as well as use edamame for the beans. This will be my contribution to the Memorial day festivities.

  91. Is there some method to the madness of taking out most of the bacon grease, just to add in more oil? I could see draining off some of the grease, but then adding oil back is just silly. Too salty, perhaps?

  92. Kirsten

    I was trying to remember if it was you or some other site that had the succotash recipe that I loved last summer, and as I typed “smittenkitc…” into the address window, Firefox autofilled the URL for this recipe. I guess I used it a lot! Thanks!

  93. J

    I’ve made this many times, with all kinds of variations, all to great success. I’ve used turkey bacon for less fat, green beans instead of limas because that’s what I had on hand, baby spinach instead of arugula, gooseberries instead of cherry tomatoes….this is infinitely adaptable!

  94. I have a question about some food substitutions. I recently developed an intolerance to lima beans, and many other green beans. What do you think about substituting garbanzo and white northern beans? I’m so sad I’ve lost so many good summer recipes to my allergies.

  95. Jamie

    Looking at this recipe, I have the urge to make it as a cold dish with raw sweet corn and raw tomatoes. I can get delicious fresh sweet corn that I think is a crime to cook; it is that good. What do you think of adding the corn and tomatoes fresh at the end?

  96. I also had recipes, but not seen a photo, or understood the recipe, so thanks for sharing! I love this for summer, but yes getting all your fresh produce – I’m jealous!

  97. Leslie

    Had this for dinner – wonderful taste, so pretty and easy, easy, easy. Just read in comment 70 about chunks of buttery fried rice. I may do that next time for added animation. Thanks Deb!

  98. Leslie Rogers

    I’ve made this twice recently and it’s excellent and the colour mix is wonderful. Also, I found the veggies are great as left overs as the flavour really comes together. Thanks Deb.

  99. Jocelyn

    This was so much sweeter than I had anticipated. I was really looking forward to making it, made a few special trips to get all the ingredients, but was let down with the serious sweetness of the final product. Wondering how I could tone that down. I love succotash and love all these ingredients. It’s a great way to get a variety of foods in my kids as well.

    1. Nivedita

      May I suggest a variety of fresh herbs and some gentle heat from some chiles? I noted that you mention kids. I assure you mine are chile wimps, but they inhaled this today :-). Here is what I used today:
      3 large ears of corn, 1 red bell pepper diced, 1 moderately hot pasilla Chile seeded, deveined and diced, 1 large sweet onion chopped, 3 cloves of garlic, 12 ounces of shelled edamame, 1 large heirloom tomato (was pretty sweet), juice of half a large lime, 1/2 of very finely minced Thai Chile and these herbs – thyme, parsley, basil and cilantro. I put thyme in along with the onion and the others were added after succotash had cooled to room temperature. I omitted bacon since we’re vegetarian. But I think these would work with the bacon too. Or perhaps you could use a dash of cayenne instead of the Thai Chile. Trust me, in such a big pan of succotash, one half hot chile finely minced did not provide a jolt of heat. Was more a gentle contribution to the overall flavor of the dish. My husband and I added extra minced chile to our bowls. It was still not overly hot/spicy. It was very yummy though!

  100. Made this for dinner tonight tossed with some Farfalle, and it was delish. Did make some subs – edamame instead of Lima beans, and a decent splash of hot sauce. I also cut back on the amount of corn to make it less sweet. My husband who is not a pasta guy came back for second.

  101. Josie

    Just want to say that I got super lazy and stopped at the “let succotash cool to room temperate” step and did nothing else – no basil, arugula, croutons or anything else, and this was DELISH.

  102. Kathy

    I find it difficult to believe that this is the 10th summer I’ve been making this. There’s such a short window of time when the ingredients are all at their peak, I try to make the most of it.

  103. Clara L Currier

    I would like to substitute canned beans. Would 1 can of each type (cranberry and
    baby lima beans) be about right?

  104. JC

    Yes, yes , yes to all of it except… the limas. Sorry they are like pillows of sawdust to me no matter how enticingly prepared. Will try with maybe kidney beans?

  105. Donna

    I love this dish, but I usually add some okra – sliced 1/2″ thick, and flash-fried on high heat until charred and tender-crisp. Everything else stays pretty much the same.

  106. Xenia

    My husband loathes any kind of “bean” (other than a “green bean). What could I substitute? Peas? What do you think would work best?