I was raised in the South and the Midwest. Both of these regions have different attitudes about corn. Corn is very important in the South, often eaten every day as corn bread or grits. As I child I sometimes ate corn on the cob in the South, but more often I ate fresh corn kernels sauteed in butter or bacon fat, or tucked into hushpuppies. When I moved to Illinois, we gradually switched to only eating corn on the cob. Eating the fresh ears of corn was as eagerly anticipated as vine ripened tomatoes. My mother grew sweet corn and we would start boiling the water to cook it when she went out to pick the fat, golden ears. Recently, I've gone back to cutting corn kernels off the cob and rediscovered how superior it is to the best frozen corn. Yesterday I had succotash, made with lightly cooked corn, fresh picked green beans, and lima beans. I normally make this with butter and cream. But, this vegan version was wonderful, and very easy to make. One reason this dish is so delicious was the basil added to it, which made all the ingredients taste even more "garden fresh". And that made this dish a great one for Weekend Herb Blogging, created by the lovely Kalyn, who has been hard at work, now that school is back in session. But, she still has time to host WHB at her site this weekend. Please go there and see what all the other herb bloggers have fixed for you.
After cutting off the kernels I like to make corn stock with the cobs. I cook the cobs along with an onion, garlic, and some herbs. Here, I simmered 3 ears of corn, a cup of caramelized onions, a smashed clove of garlic, and 3 sprigs of thyme in about 2 quarts of water for one hour.
After it simmered and reduced down quite a bit, I strained and seasoned it with salt and white pepper. That left me with a delicious, rich stock so good I was tempted to drink it right then. But, I froze it to use in soups, stews or sauces.
Succotash Of Fresh Corn, Green Beans, Baby Lima Beans And Basil (Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook)
2 cups sweet corn kernels, cut from the cob (about 3 or 4 ears)
1 1/2 cups fresh green beans, cut in small pieces
1 1/2 cups shelled baby lima beans, fresh or frozen
1/3 to 1/2 cup shredded basil
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper
Cook the sweet corn in boiling water for 3 minutes. Scoop it out of the water and drain. Add the green beans to the water and cook for 3-4 minutes, just until tender, then scoop out and add to the corn. Cook the lima beans in the boiling water until tender, which may take 4-10 minutes. Drain them and add to the corn/beans.
Heat the oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until it's softened, then add half the basil and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the corn, and both beans to the pot and toss together in the oil for about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, add salt and pepper to taste and serve, with the remaining basil scattered on top.