Sonoma Succotash Salad
Combining grilled sweet corn with fresh beans makes a succotash far beyond what we remember from the grade school cafeteria. If fresh fava beans are not available, substitute precooked shelled edamame beans.
For the Champagne vinaigrette:
- 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbs. Champagne vinegar
- 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
- 6 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
- 3 to 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 lb. fresh fava beans in their pods
- Vegetable oil for grill
- 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (15 oz.) lima beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 10 to 12 teardrop heirloom tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh chervil
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 head butter lettuce, torn into large cup-shaped pieces
To make the vinaigrette, in a bowl, combine the grapeseed oil and olive oil in a measuring cup with a spout. In a nonaluminum bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, shallot, salt and white pepper. Add the oils in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Pour the vinaigrette into a sauceboat or small serving bowl. Use immediately, or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Soak the corn in ice water to cover for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. Brush the corn with some of the melted butter and season with salt and black pepper.
Bring a pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Have ready a bowl of ice water. Shuck the fava beans from their outer pods. Boil the favas until their skins loosen, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain. Plunge the favas into the ice bath and drain again. When cool enough to handle, pinch one end of the favas to squeeze them from their tough outer skins; discard the skins.
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill. Brush and oil the grill grate.
Grill the corn directly over medium-high heat, turning often and basting with the remaining butter, until lightly charred and caramelized on all sides, about 20 minutes.
Transfer the corn to a cutting board and let cool just until it can be handled. Working with 1 ear at a time, stand the corn, stem end down, on the board and cut the kernels away from the cob in a downward motion. Alternatively, use a kernel cutter.
In a large bowl, combine the corn kernels, favas, chickpeas, lima beans, vine-ripened and teardrop tomatoes, basil, chervil, parsley, tarragon and onion. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat. Season with salt and black pepper.
Arrange the lettuce leaves into a bed on a serving platter or individual salad plates. Spoon the succotash on top of the lettuce and serve with the remaining vinaigrette on the side. Serves 6 to 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma On the Grill, by Willie Cooper (Oxmoor House, 2009).