Sweet corn and fresh lima beans are natural garden partners and one of my favorite vegetable combinations. I like traditional American succotash (originally a Native American dish in fact) in which the vegetables are cooked together in water, milk or cream. But limas and corn are especially delicious when prepared by my Covered Skillet method, with olive oil and garlic (and a bit of peperoncino).
You must use fresh cut corn kernels and limas beans right out of the shell for this dish—frozen corn and limas will get mushy and just don’t have the flavor.
- 4 to 6 ears sweet corn
- 3-1/2 to 4 pounds fresh lima beans in the shell
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 or 4 plump garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon peperoncino
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
- For Serving
- 1 cup Basil-Onion Sauce (see here)
Cut the kernels from the ears of corn until you have 4 or 5 cups.
Shell all the lima beans. You should get at least a quart of shelled beans from 4 pounds of beans in the shell. Rinse the shelled limas, getting rid of any bits of the pods, and drain them well.
Put the olive oil in the skillet, toss in the garlic slices and cook them over medium-high heat for just a minute. Dump all the limas from the bowl into the pan—keep your face away, as there will be a lot of sizzling when the damp beans hit the oil. Immediately cover the pan, give it a good shake, and turn down the heat to low-medium.
Cook the limas, covered, and shake the pan frequently. Uncover it every 3 minutes or so and quickly check that the beans are sizzling and softening but not burning. After 10 minutes, sprinkle over the salt and peperoncino; cover and cook for another minute. Then add the corn kernels and stir them into the beans. Cook covered, another 5 minutes, then add 1/2 cup of water to the pan and cover again.
Cook another 8 to 10 minutes, until the beans and the kernels are tender to the bite, but not mushy, and have caramelized lightly on the edges.
Serve the Corn and Limas right away, right from the pan or pile them on a platter covered with a thin layer of Basil Onion Sauce. Scoop up some of the sauce with each serving spoonful.