2007_07_cornsoup.jpgMid to late August is the perfect time to catch two locally grown vegetables at the top of their game. At the very beginning of the month, bush lima beans are most buttery and vibrant. The very last weekend in August is also the best time to try Long Island corn. It is around Labor Day weekend that local corn is its sweetest and most flavorful.

Succotash is principally the combination of corn and lima beans. Some recipes call for diced red peppers, but for the recipe below- a variation on traditional succotash- we’ve omitted them. We’ve kept in the bacon for good measure, but otherwise the ingredients are lean. When local corn is as good as it is now, it doesn’t need a lot of help from additional ingredients or seasonings. Likewise, the clean flavor of semi-unadorned, fresh lima beans is long overdue for a revival in home and restaurant kitchens. The inclusion of walnut oil in this soup is meant to help bring out the flavors of the bean, and to provide a neutral background for the simple, silky corn soup.

Succotash Soup
1 1/2 cup corn kernels, cooked, and removed from cob
1/2 cup white onion, sliced thin
2 T olive oil
1/4 pound bacon, diced
1 T walnut oil
1/2 T fresh thyme, chopped
1 T minced shallot
1 cup lima beans, peeled and cooked
1 cup milk, chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste

1) Sweat onions in a large pan with olive oil over medium-high heat, until translucent.
Do not brown. Reduce heat; add corn kernels and cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add milk and simmer. Do not boil. Cook for ten minutes and remove from heat. Blend
until smooth; pass mix through fine sieve. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Keep warm; reserve.

2) In a separate pan, cook diced bacon until crisp over medium-high heat. Remove fat
and reserve for another use. Return bacon to pan. Stir in shallot, thyme.

3) Mash blanched beans with potato masher or large fork. Combine beans with walnut
oil and bacon mix. Place bean mash in center of bowl; ladle corn soup in to bowl.

photo: succotash soup, garnished with amaranth from Satur Farm