So the first year that I grew habaneros, I offered some to my friend Armando, who I've seen sweating over all kinds of his wife's salsas at lunchtime. He rejected them and said they were too strong, which made me very afraid to use them--if Armando wouldn't eat them, nobody would. They ripened at about the same time as my corn and lima beans, so I figured that if I added just one of those cute little peppers to a big batch of succotash, the butter and cream would help tame the heat, and it did: it took the heat down exactly one notch. Yeah, I did the cartoonish steam-coming-out-of-my-ears, fire-breathing-dragon thing. It was painful. If you like heat without the fire, substitute a seeded and de-ribbed jalapeno; if you like warmth, use one-fourth of a poblano; if you don't want any heat at all, use one small bell pepper, preferably red, diced (about 1/3 cup). What makes this a holiday dish? The colors! It's so festive! —betteirene
package pearl onions
fresh or frozen corn kernels (thawed if frozen)
(about 1 1/2 cups) fresh or frozen lima beans, shucked and skinned fava beans, or fresh or frozen edamame (thawed if frozen)
habanero pepper, seeded and finely chopped (see note above)
Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a large skillet. Trim root end from onions and add to boiling water. Let cook three minutes, pour into colander and rinse with cold tap water. Squeeze between thumb and forefinger to remove peel.
In same skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add peeled onions and saute, stirring now and then, until onions are just tender (a toothpick should be able to pierce it with little resistance) and beginning to caramelize. Add corn and beans with a half-cup of water; let cook over medium heat until water evaporates and vegetables are tender, about five minutes.
Stir in cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Heat through. Add up to 1/4 cup milk if necessary to make the succotash "saucy." Taste, adjust seasoning if needed, and serve hot.