Rhonda's Succotash

- Amanda

In some families, wars break out whenever they get in the kitchen together. In my family, it's the place we get along best. We reserve a special civility when near the stove, and save our daggers for other places, like the car/quiet public spaces/the check-out line at Home Depot.

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Last week on our family vacation in Florida, one of my sisters (aka Rhonda35 here on food52) took the lead with a side dish for crab cakes. I was her well-meaning though slow and easily-distracted assistant, stripping corn of its kernels, mis-measuring the cream.

To her succotash, Rhonda added edamame and peas instead of lima beans, and a little wine to brighten the sweet flavors. She's a natural cook who lives by the motto: when in doubt, add a tablespoon of butter. So at the end, she finishes her succotash with butter. I recommend that you do, too.

When I was in college and Rhonda was a newlywed, she introduced me to a whole new world of food and cooking with books like The Silver Palat e, The Moosewood Cookbook, and The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook. Rhonda's cooking style is maximalist -- she's a welcoming host and a collector. If there's some ginger lying around waiting to be used, she will not let it lie fallow, which makes cooking with her an adventure. She will never make the same dish the same way twice. So enjoy her succotash as it was for one day last week.

Rhonda's Succotash

Serves 6

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 5 ears corn, kernels and juices stripped from the cobs
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen edamame (out of the pods)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 small red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped flatleaf parsley

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

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Amanda Hesser

Written by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.


ChristineB July 9, 2011
Just made this last night, served with grilled chicken and polenta--YUM! Thanks for a great recipe!
Amanda H. July 9, 2011
Glad it all worked out!
Chris B. July 6, 2011
Hi, Rhonda! I am in Cooke's Hope. Would love to meet you!
Chris B. July 5, 2011
When you are from the Eastern Shore of MD, crabcakes and succotash are a must! Avid follower from Easton, MD.
Chris B. July 5, 2011
When you are from MD's Eastern Shore crab cakes and succotash are a must! Avid follower from Easton, MD.
Rhonda35 July 5, 2011
Hey Chris! I'm in Easton, too! Live right in town on Hanson. I'm the Festival Director for the Chesapeake Film Festival - if you come to any of our events prior to or during the actual Festival in September, ask for me - I'd love to meet you. (Maybe we can start having some of those cool food52 potlucks right here on the Shore!)
belfman July 3, 2011
I made succotash last night here on Cape Cod and used edamame, grape tomatoes quartered, fresh corn cut off the cob, scallion and an orange pepper chopped. My dressing was a simple olive oil, garlic and small splash of vinegar with salt and pepper. The beautiful flavors of the fresh veggies came through and everyone enjoyed it last night and today.
Rhonda35 July 4, 2011
tucsonbabe July 3, 2011
If I remember correctly you vacation on Siesta Key. We are going to my family's home on Longboat
Key next week. Where did you find frozen edamame down there? Does Publix carry it or did you have to go to Whole Foods or Morton's? I buy it here (Tucson) at TJ's but do not have a clue as to where to get it in Florida.
Rhonda35 July 4, 2011
Publix has edamame shelled and still in the pod in the frozen vegetables section. You shouldn't have any trouble finding them. Have a fantastic time on Longboat!
tucsonbabe July 4, 2011
Thanks Rhonda. I pulled out "Mr. Latte" and I will be making the crab cakes and succotash for the brood. For those who do not own the book, the recipe can be found on the NYT website.
shelovestocook July 3, 2011
Can't wait to make this. Do I use a red pepper (jalapeno, thai) or red bell pepper?
Amanda H. July 3, 2011
Red bell pepper but you could add a little jalapeño if you'd like some heat.
Miss P. July 2, 2011
What do you recommend to replace the cream and butter. Almond milk adds a "taste" that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.
Rhonda35 July 2, 2011
If you want to cut the cream and butter for fat content reasons, you could certainly use less butter and/or more olive oil and you can use half and half or light cream instead of the heavy cream. This will produce a succotash that is tasty, just in a different way than the one I make.

If you want to cut cream and butter to avoid dairy, I'd use no butter and more olive oil and simply leave out any milk/cream. Again, this will be delicious, just not quite as decadent as mine!
Rhonda35 July 1, 2011
Thank you, Amanda, for making my succotash famous! (It WAS awfully tasty, wasn't it?!) xo
Robin O. July 1, 2011
Aren't sisters the best!
Rhonda35 July 1, 2011
You know it, Robin! I've got two great ones and a fun sister-in-law, too!
Blissful B. July 1, 2011
This article is like a love letter to your sister. Beautiful.
Bevi July 1, 2011
Yay! No lima beans!
BiCoastalCook July 1, 2011
We make a Central Coast California version of succotash with sweet white onion, fresh corn, fresh peas, and fava beans. But this East Coast version sounds good too!
Lucy's M. July 1, 2011
This looks absolutely delicious, but I must know, Amanda -- how were the crab cakes prepared? I'm a Maryland girl. I must know.
Rhonda35 July 1, 2011
Hi Lucy's Mom -

The recipe for the crab cakes is from Amanda's book, Cooking for Mr, Latte, page 96. Normally, I would have sauteed them in, oh surprise, surprise: butter! But we had a large group and a ton of crab cakes to cook, so I heated a little butter and olive oil on 2 rimmed cookie sheets in a 400 degree oven. When hot, I swirled around the fats, placed the crab cakes on the pans and oven-fried them - about 12 min/side - until they were golden.

I'm a Maryland girl, too (well, a Pennsylvania transplant to MD's Eastern Shore.) Love it here!
MeghanVK July 1, 2011
Oh my a-God, this looks sooooo good. I am so happy corn season is finally beginning!
healthierkitchen July 1, 2011
Delicious! Perfect side for so many summer dishes.
Sadassa_Ulna July 1, 2011
Mmmmm this sounds good. And I love the headnote!