Garden Glut Succotash with Barley, Basil and Poached Eggs
Never have I welcomed autumn so emphatically as this year. A response to an excessively long, hot, sticky summer? A larger desire for change in our life? I’m really not too concerned about the details; only that autumn to me means calm and comfort, and are two things I need a whole lot of at the moment.
Today I have a recipe to share that toes the line between seasons. It’s energizing and light, as you long for in summer + homey and warm, just right for autumn. With only a few ingredients this simple, traditional side is elevated to a beautiful and balanced meal — be it supper, lunch or even breakfast.
Gently sauteed okra, zucchini, mushrooms, bell pepper and squash meld nicely with tender barley in my late summer-early autumn succotash. A perfectly poached egg, a shower of fresh garden herbs, lemony sumac and a drizzle of your finest extra virgin or a vibrant green herb oil provide a lavish finish and make this plate deeply satisfying.
What’s in it for me?
As a whole the seasonal garden vegetables used here pack in fiber, vitamin C, beta-carotene, folate, and phytochemicals to promote skin, hair and brain health, improve immune function, and helps reduce risk of diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
Okra is rich in vitamin K, and offers a small amount of non-dairy calcium; winter squash is good for potassium and magnesium; and one large red bell pepper provides more than 100% of your daily needs of vitamin A. Mushrooms are surprising sources of some B vitamins, selenium and copper, and one of the only plants to contain vitamin D, particularly if grown under UV light.
Barley is a nutty, chewy, fiber-rich whole grain that provides satisfaction and satiation, promotes a healthy weight, stabilizes blood sugars, and furthers the risk minimization of cardiac issues and certain cancers. Barley also provides antioxidant protection with its high levels of manganese and selenium.
One whole egg contains more than 6 grams, or roughly 13% of the recommended daily value, of high-quality complete protein, necessary to help build muscles and provide steady, sustained energy. While most of the fat and cholesterol come from the yolk, so do many of its beneficial nutrients, including choline, vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that play a critical role in maintaining eye health.
There are plenty of delicious options to reap the health benefits of what the garden and farm stands have to offer right now — sweet potatoes and a variety of colorful squashes, root vegetables like rutabagas and parsnips, as well as the still-plentiful tomatoes, sweet corn, spinach, eggplant, summer squashes and beans.
Once winter rolls around, the dark leafy greens like kale, collards and chard sweeten, as do the red beets and crucifers like cabbages, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. Then with the spring thaw comes spicy radishes and tender baby greens, snap and shelled peas, fava beans and asparagus.
Loading your plate with what’s fresh, vibrant and in season isn’t just about making your plate look good. It’s a guarantee that you get a variety healthful and altogether flavorful nutrients.
I hope you enjoy my season-straddling succotash-as-a-meal, and that this autumn is a calm one!
Tell me… Are you fond of succotash? Favorite unique twists?
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 small or 1/2 large zucchini or summer squash, diced
- 6 small to medium fresh or frozen and thawed okra pods, tops and tails trims, cut into 1/4" rounds
- 6 Crimini (baby bella) or white button mushrooms, quartered, or halved if small
- 1/2 roasted or raw red bell pepper, seeds removed, diced
- 1/2 cup cooked acorn or butternut squash cubes, optional (or sweet potato)
- 2/3 to 3/4 cup cooked barley (*see HGN Notes for cooking method)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar
- large handful fresh chives, minced, for finishing
- 8 to 10 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced (chiffonade)
- sumac, for finishing
- extra virgin olive oil, for finishing
- Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When shimmering, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the zucchini or summer squash, okra and mushrooms. Reduce the heat to medium-low, slightly cover, and cook without stirring for 10 minutes. (This helps minimize sliminess of okra.)
- Add the bell pepper and cooked squash or sweet potato, if using; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until all the veg are tender, about 5 minutes more. (Add a tablespoon or so of water or veg/chicken stock if the veg looks too dry or begins to stick to the bottom of the pan.) Stir in the cooked barley, season lightly with salt and pepper, and keep warm over low heat, covered, while the eggs poach.
- Bring 2” water to a boil in a large saucepan; reduce heat so water stays at a gentle simmer and add the vinegar. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl, then gently slide the egg into the water. When the white of the egg is opaque (should be about 30 seconds), repeat with the remaining egg. Poach until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to paper towels to absorb any water clinging to them.
- To serve, spoon the succotash-barley mixture onto your serving plates, and then top with a poached egg. Sprinkle over the minced chives and a dusting of sumac, drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil or fresh herb oil over the top, and serve at once.
Eggs can be poached up to 2 hours ahead of time. Place in a bowl of ice water and chill. Reheat in barely simmering water 1 minute just before serving.
+ Vary the veg to what's fresh and in season when you make the dish -- dark leafy winter greens like kale, collards or chard, crucifers like green or red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli or cauliflower, earthy beets, spicy spring radishes and tender baby peas, or late summer tomatoes and eggplant.
+ Use different herbs in place of the basil and chives, such as fresh thyme, tarragon, mint, rosemary, oregano or sage.
+ Add extra protein and texture with beans such as fava, edamame or lima.
+ Replace sumac with smoked or Hungarian sweet paprika, chilli or chipotle pepper flakes, curry powder or turmeric, dukkah or za'atar spice blends, or even a sprinkling of cinnamon for a unique twist.
+ Experiment with other whole grains, such as quinoa, bulgur, brown rice, farro. A warm hunk of bread or corn tortilla would also be delicious. Why not serve the veg and egg atop a socca (besan flour) flatbread?!
+ Not a fan of the poached egg? Try a different cooking preparation like sunny-side up, or replace the egg entirely with lean chicken, pork or beef, a tender fillet of fish, or try edamame or tofu.
Recipe adapted from Feasting at Home.
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