Simple Succotash Salad

Confession: I tend to go through food phases… crushes, really. I’ll find something I love — like Thai curries, or pineapple fried rice, or this — and then make it (or some variation of it) over and over, eating it for two or three weeks straight, until finally my attentions are arrested by some previously unfamiliar ingredient or flavor combination… thus beginning a brand new love affair.

(Unfortunately for my neighbors, I do the same thing with music: I think I’ve listened to Band of Horses’ “No One’s Gonna Love You” about ten times already today. Sorry guys.)

Now I know some people are averse to eating the same thing more than once or twice in the same two to three-day period — sometimes to the extent that they won’t even eat leftovers — but if I’m being honest (and really, when am I not?), I don’t really understand those people. I mean, leftovers are great! Nevermind that living by myself and not having time to cook every night (or the money to eat out or order in all the time), I pretty much live on leftovers, making double or triple what I’ll eat at any given sitting so I have lunch or dinner for the next day or two.

Luckily for me, the ability to eat the same foods and not get bored (not even close) is also pretty convenient when one is trying to eat seasonally and to take advantage of crops for as long as they’re available.

Isn’t it great when life works out like that? I mean seriously, if I was one of those leftovers-phobic people, I probably wouldn’t have much of a social life.

So you already know I’m a little in love with corn, and tomatoes (although admittedly I’ve been a bit gun-shy around the latter ever since my last tomato, um, episode), both of which are bountiful right now. I am also more than a little in love with cilantro: I have been grilling squash just to have an excuse to eat that cilantro-jalapeno-lime sauce, and am otherwise drawn to it like a moth to the flame… or like Lauren is to 4-for-$1 bananas.

(Side confession: every time I pass one of those street stands with 4-for-$1, flawlessly-yellow-with-barely-green-tips bananas, I have to buy four. Every time.)

Is there such thing as an addiction to bananas? Because if there is, I’ve got it… and now I fear it may be spreading to green leafy herbs.

It started with parsley, back when I went through a quinoa tabbouleh phase. I thought when the tabbouleh phase was over, the parsley would be too…. But I’m starting to think I may have been mistaken.

There’s this vendor at the farmer’s market that sells huge — and I do mean huge, like obscenely, not-appropriate-for-immature-audiences huge — bunches of mint and cilantro for three dollars (three dollars!!). Unable to resist a bargain that good, I wander closer and closer… and once I get within smelling distance, I’m lost. Suddenly I’ve got a bunch of each in hand, and by golly they are coming home with me, regardless of whether I’ve got any idea as to what to do with them once they get there.

Luckily for me and my leafy green friends, I’m not afraid to experiment, and I usually come up with something good.

Anyhow, knowing all of that, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise if I tell you that I didn’t exactly put too much thought into putting together this succotash-ish salad. I pretty much just took a bunch of my favorite things — corn on the cob, tiny tomatoes, avocado, cilantro — and threw them together with a few other things. Luckily for both of us, dear reader, in this wonderful instance the amount of forethought that went into this salad is inversely proportionate to the wow-factor of the end result.

That’s right: once again, laziness and a desire to avoid turning on the stove for more than a few minutes has magical, mouthwatering results. Score!

This is one of those crazy simple, amazingly flavorful, virtuously healthy, make-ahead foods that I love. (Yay, social life!) The starchy-sweet pop of the corn kernels and the tart-sweet bite of the little tomatoes make themselves right at home with the cool creaminess of the avocado and the bright acidic kick from the lime juice. Although you won’t see it in the picture above, as I served this batch as a side-salad with something else, the addition edamame adds a meatier texture and makes this a one-bowl meal. Part of the beauty of this salad is that it is endlessly adaptable — if you don’t like cilantro, you can try substituting basil instead, or you can play around with adding grilled summer squash and scallions, maybe even replace the edamame with diced peaches and goat cheese (? – let me know what you come up with!). On top of that, the whole thing refrigerates well for a couple of days, perfect for make-ahead lunches.

What more could you want out of an early-August salad?

Simple Succotash Salad

  • 3 ears of corn
  • 2/3 cup edamame (I used frozen shelled) or lima beans
  • 1/2 pint or more cherry tomatoes (I used sun-gold above, and black cherry tomatoes the second time around, both of which are quite sweet), halved
  • 1 avocado
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • a nice big handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • olive oil and coarse salt

Put a pot of water up to boil, and shuck the corn. When the water is boiling, put the corn in and cover with a lid for 1 minute (if the corn is fully submerged in the boiling water) or 2-3 minutes (if some of the corn is above water level and steaming) until just bright yellow. Remove corn from hot water with tongs and set aside to cool. Into the same pot, toss in edamame or beans, boiling for 8-10 minutes or until tender but not overcooked.

While the beans are cooking, wash and halve the cherry tomatoes and cube the avocado. Coarsely chop the cilantro. Once the corn has cooled enough to handle, use a sharp knife to cut the kernels from the cobs.

Drain the edamame and run under cold water for a moment to cool.

Combine everything in a bowl with a drizzle of oil, a pinch or two of salt, and a few squeezes of the lime (or to taste).

Serve just warm, room temperature, or refrigerate for a day or two. (Any more and the avocado starts looking a little grim.)

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2 Responses to “Simple Succotash Salad”

  1. My kind of summer food. Light, easy and best eaten straight out of the mixing bowl. “Yay social life” is right!

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