Like most kids, I was not always a huge fan of eating my vegetables. I have vivid memories of crying shriveled peas that had to be consumed before I was allowed my dino-shaped chicken nuggets, and of stealthily hiding florets of browning boiled broccoli in my hands and then sneaking them into the trash can to gain access to the evenings offering of macaroni and cheese. To my parents’ credit they did try to encourage healthy habits (a success for the most part; as adults my sisters and I are all still of the mind there must be a vegetable somewhere on the dinner table), but clearly I was a bit of a vegetable evasion MacGyver back then.
But those days are behind me. I have evolved. I love vegetables now, particularly in the months of the year when I can get them fresh from farmers’ markets. That has been the true difference. That, and knowing that most vegetables can be utterly transformed into the part of the meal I am most eager to eat with the help of a little love and seasoning. The shriveled, overcooked, and unseasoned veggies-0f-yore are long gone. And good riddance.
This succotash is an ode to what a vegetable dish can and should be. Simple, but tasty. Quick, but memorable. In June corn is sweet and super affordable, and is as delicious raw as it is thrown on a grill. Shelling peas would be a treat but frozen are just as effective. And the zucchini are just starting to appear. All sautéed together quickly in a hot pan of slightly browned butter et voilà, all former fears of vegetables are eradicated. Alongside a little bit of lemon-drenched shrimp and you have a full meal. Just add white wine.
succotash & shrimps
2 medium zucchini, diced
2 ears of corn, kernels removed from the cob
1/3 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup shelled peas
4 tablespoons butter
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt, pepper, and lemon to taste
- Dice the red onion and zucchini into bite size bits to match the corn kernels and the peas. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a sauté pan until it just begins to brown (it will have a nutty smell and appear golden). Immediately add the zucchini and onion and cook for 5 minutes or until they soften and begin to brown. Add in the corn and peas and cook until just warm, about two minutes. Season with salt and pepper then remove from heat and set aside.
- Pat shrimp dry (this will help them brown), and salt and pepper to taste on both sides. Cook over medium-high heat with a bit of olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until they are just pink. Turn heat to low and squeeze fresh lemon juice over the shrimp (the heat from the pan my cause some splatter). Stir to coat all the shrimp and pick up the tasty brown bits at the bottom of your pan. (If you’ve got a grill, cooking your shrimp on it instead of on the stove would be a wonderful deviation).
- Place shrimp on top of succotash and give an additional hit of lemon, salt and pepper if necessary. If you have fresh herbs, say basil or chives, they would be a great way to add from brightness sprinkled over the dish. Serve immediately.