Sunday, August 15, 2010

Leftovers:Succotash and Smashed Potato Casserole with Cheddar Cheese

You'd think after having a big dinner party on Friday I'd take Saturday off! Nope. Several friends converged Saturday night and although they weren't expecting dinner I wanted to serve something up and had lots of left overs so here is what I did.

Left Over Succotash and Smashed Potato Casserole with Cheddar Cheese

This is going to be fairly free form, given it's based on left overs. You can make substitutions and vary anything you want at will; this is the outline based on what I had in my fridge. Although I will say that even though it was a left over creation, I would definitely make this as a "from scratch" dish since it was so successful.

Fill a large pot with water and add several teaspoons of salt. Chop 8 new red skin potatoes place in water, bring to boil and cook until tender, strain, add 4 Tablespoons of butter, smash with a potato masher season with salt and pepper, cover and set aside for later.

While you are waiting for the potatoes to cook... Peel and shuck 8 cobs of corn, trim and roughly chop one large yellow summer squash and one green (zucchini), trim and chop into bite size pieces about 1/2 pound of beans (green, yellow, purple or a selection of all three), finely chop 1 large sweet onion, smash and finely chop 3-4 cloves of garlic.

In a large skillet or pot (that has a lid) over a medium flame add 1/3 cup olive oil when hot add the onions, stir for two minutes then add the garlic, cook for a minute and then add all the veg, cover with a lid and cook over medium heat until tender (8-12 minutes, better to err on the side or crunchy). Season with salt pepper and the juice of one lime. Add more butter if you want it to be richer. Optionally you could add in 1 or 2 seeded jalapeno peppers and cook with the onions if you wanted it to be spicy, also you could finish it off with chopped fresh cilantro. My 2 cents is that right now with everything in season it's nice to just revel in the fresh true flavors of the ingredients and not get caught up in making the dish too complicated or busy.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Grate 2 cups of extra sharp white cheddar cheese.

Butter your favorite casserole dish (mine is a Spanish clay dish that measures 8x 11) and add the smashed potatoes in a layer, then, using a slotted spoon (you don't want the juice from the veggies or you'll have soggy casserole and no one is a fan of soggy casserole) make a layer of succotash. Top with grated Cheddar and bake for about 30 minutes, the cheese should be brown around the edges. If you are making this with actual left overs from the fridge make sure it's warmed through (OK this may not meet the Martha Stewart seal of approval but often if I am worried about this I just stick my finger in it to taste the temperature). Serve with Tabasco sauce and garnish with chopped cilantro if you have some laying about... otherwise just dig in!

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