Lady Lima Succotash Salad with Fresh Mint

Meals, Music and muses. Recipes from my African American Kitchen by Alexander Smalls.

Iconic chef and world-renowned opera singer Alexander Smalls marries two of his greatest passions―food and music―in Meals, Music, and Muses. More than just a cookbook, Smalls takes readers on a delicious journey through the South to examine the food that has shaped the region. Each chapter is named for a type of music to help readers understand the spirit that animates these recipes.

Filled with classic Southern recipes and twists on old favourites, this cookbook includes starters such as Hoppin’ John Cakes with Sweet Pepper Remoulade and Carolina Bourbon Barbecue Shrimp and Okra Skewers, and main dishes like Roast Quail in Bourbon Cream Sauce and Prime Rib Roast with Crawfish Onion Gravy.

Complete with anecdotes of Smalls’s childhood in the Low Country and examinations of Southern musical tradition, Meals, Music, and Muses is a heritage cookbook in the tradition of Edna Lewis’s A Taste of Country Cooking.

Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen is available at Amazon.com and Indigo.ca.


Lady Lima Succotash Salad with Fresh Mint

I have been eating succotash salad all my life. I wanted to own the dish and bring it home with a twist . . . What better way to do that than to marry the concept of lima beans, or what we in the South call succotash, with the succulent taste of crab meat?

The dressing is a moment to create flavour. The heavy cream is for texture, the Champagne vinegar for taste.

This is a simple but grand dish. I love to serve it to international guests whose experience with American cuisine might be limited. This is almost always something they’ve never tasted before. How often can you say that?

Makes 6 servings

4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
6 ears corn, shucked
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups frozen lima beans
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup chopped red onion
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons sliced fresh mint
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil. Roast

until soft, about 30 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, heat a grill to medium-high.

Squeeze the roasted garlic between your fingertips to release the cloves; discard the papery skins and finely chop the cloves. Transfer to a large bowl.

Brush the corn with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Grill the corn, turning occasionally, until tender and charred in spots, about 13 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then cut the kernels from the cobs and add them to the bowl with the garlic.

Fill a medium bowl with ice and water. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add the lima beans to the boiling water and cook until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to the ice water to cool. Drain the lima beans again and add them to the bowl with the corn.

Add the bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, parsley, mint, vinegar, cream, sugar, and remaining ¼ cup oil. Toss until evenly coated.

Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days before serving.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books.

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