Yesterday, June 21st, was the first official day of summer! The summer solstice is the longest day of year meaning that the amount of daylight from sunrise to sunset is at its maximum for the entire year. While the weather here in the humid city has been exceptionally dry with a high heat indexes we can still enjoy delicious vine-ripened produce like okra which is in full swing. Some produce gathers momentum at high tempertures like hot peppers both cayenne and jalapenos. Corn and melons get a little sweeter in the heat but it is short lived and they won’t return until late summer or early fall for another brief appearance.
All that summer has to offer right now is almost beyond peak season and with the gas prices rising in much the same way as the temperatures why not return to a classic dish that was made popular during the depression era: Succotash.
Our Creole Succtash has a got a twist to it–corn and beans are prepared seperately, added together later in a cast-iron skillet with some Clemson spineless okra which seems only natural this time of year and is finally sauteed to perfec
While the most popular traditional succotash has lima beans we choose the fresh shelled red beans as the perfect accompaniment and the option for a meat, maybe andouille from Cochon’s Butcher, could become a twist on your Beans and Rice Monday.
The name for succotash originates from the Native American word, msikwatash or msickquatash (however you can find many different spellings depending on the tribe), roughly translated it means ‘broken into bits’ or ‘boiled corn.’
Msikwatash usually consists of what is known as the 3 sisters: beans, corn, & squash. During the Great Depression it became popular because of its simplicity and because it changes from region to region whether the Mid-West or the deep South it was what they had in quantity and what they could easily culivate. Chances are our recipes are very different from that time period instead of using olive oil they probably used lard or some rendered animal fat or what is most likely possible: some type of salted meat.
So each verison of succotash may tell a story: the settlement of the Americas, the struggle for food, and a bit of history about each region changed its recipe
based on transition (Great Depression), celebration (settlement), and a type of Thanksgiving (the struggle). What ever the case may be it is a plate of cultural anthropology, a taste of history.
Week 36 Farms: