Despite there being a small town in Rhode Island named Succotash Point, Southerners have always claimed that the corn-and–lima bean dish called sukguttahash by the early Powhatan Indians originated in seventeenth-century Virginia and eventually spread throughout the South. Subsequently, each state or region developed its own style of succotash, one of the most distinctive being this creamed Delaware version, made with tomatoes and nutmeg. My own mother in North Carolina, of course, would never have dreamed of adding tomatoes to succotash till I virtually forced her to taste this version. And there was a man in Alabama who once told me I’d lost my mind when I mentioned making succotash with milk or cream. I am pretty adamant about using only fresh corn (naturally, with the milk scraped from the cobs) and limas (or, even better, real butter beans, if they’re available), and I can’t emphasize enough the importance of stirring succotash while it’s thickening over heat, to prevent scorching. (One burnt kernel or bean can ruin the entire pot.)
Place the lima beans in a medium saucepan with enough salted water to cover, bring to a moderate simmer, cover, cook till tender, about 15 minutes, and drain.
Meanwhile, in a large, heavy pot, fry the bacon over moderate heat till almost crisp and pour off all but about
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