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I like to cook extra corn on the cob, just to have a few ears left over. I love crunchy kernels in salsas, chilies and salads. If it is truly tasty corn, it can star in an entree such as this version of succotash.

Succotash is hearty enough to hold the center of the plate, especially when you add a generous sprinkle of cooked and crumbled bacon. All you need is a nice romaine salad, perhaps, and a lemon bar to finish.

Tips: To save time, we've left the corn on the cob, but you can cut it off for easier eating.

Don't like lima beans? Try substituting great Northern beans.

Beverage suggestion: A white or red wine would work with this melange of flavors. Try a pinot noir.

> Corn and Bacon Succotash with Rice

6 strips bacon

1 onion, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon each: salt, crushed red pepper flakes

1 can (15 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth

4 ears corn, each cut into thirds

2 cups fresh lima beans or 1 bag (14 ounces) frozen

2 cups long-grain or basmati rice, cooked to package directions

Heat a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat; add bacon. Cook, turning once, until crisp, about 7 minutes. Remove to paper-towel lined plate; crumble when cool. Add onion to skillet; cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 7 minutes.

Add bell pepper, garlic, thyme, salt and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Add chicken broth; cook, stirring up any browned bits, 2 minutes. Add corn and lima beans; cook, turning corn often to cook evenly, until corn and beans are tender and liquid reduces slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon. Serve over rice. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 753 calories, 9 percent of calories from fat, 8 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 143 g carbohydrates, 26 g protein, 431 mg sodium, 12 g fiber.