Garden Succotash with Cornichons

Garden Succotash with Cornichons

In high summer there are few things that make me as happy as pulling fresh food out of my own garden. Well, maybe a delivery from my parents of Chilliwack corn and whatever they’ve been growing in their own garden.

When that coincides with a delivery from Maille Canada, I start feeling ecstatic.

Maille Cornichons with Caramelized Onions

Maille was kind enough to send me a jar of the newest edition to their range of cornichons – Gherkins with Caramelized Onions. Knowing how good their cornichons are is a liability. I found it difficult not to open the jar before I’d settled on a recipe to use them in. This would have been a very different post then, as they don’t last long around here.

Willpower prevailed and I came up with a version of one of my favourite side dishes, succotash, to showcase the flavour of these wonderful cornichons. Succotash is one of those infinitely variable dishes that can stray very far from its original components (corn, lima beans, and tomatoes), while still retaining its character.

I’ve made a really good winter slow cooker version with edamame and frozen corn, but my favourite time to make it is right now, when the best of the summer’s corn is at its height.

I love corn on the cob – who doesn’t? But fresh corn has so much more to offer – I eat it raw in salads, cooked with the cob in soup, and sliced off the cob in almost any dish I can work it into.

As for cornichons, I’ll eat them straight out of the jar, but love to add them (and their brine) to salads, meat dishes – or again – any dish I can work them into.

These cornichons are flavoured with caramelized onions in a brine rich with grape must, wine vinegar, and mustard and coriander seeds. They’re delicately piquant and provide a perfect acid that enhances the fresh summer flavours of this succotash without overwhelming them.

In winter, I want a succotash that’s almost a stew, but in summer I like to add raw vegetables (like cherry tomatoes) to the mix. It’s much more like a warm salad and the brine works with the sauce provided by the corn, Roma tomato, and butter beans, to act like a vinaigrette.

We ate the succotash with roasted new potatoes and beets and steamed green beans – all fresh from the garden. It made for a hearty vegan meal. But, this could easily act as a barbecue side. It would be particularly great with grilled pork chops or chicken, along with a piquant potato salad

It’s also adaptable to whatever you’re bringing home from the fresh markets or pulling from your own garden. The green beans could have easily been added to the succotash, the butter beans replaced by Lima beans, Borlotti beans, or edamame. But don’t skip the cornichons or their brine. You’d regret it.

Garden Succotash with Cornichons again

Garden Succotash with Cornichons

Makes 6-8 servings

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 ears (4 cups of kernels) fresh corn
  • 2 398 mL (14 oz) cans of butter beans
  • 1 sweet pepper (any colour), diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, coarsely diced
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 6 Maille Cornichons (Gherkins) with Caramelized Onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 Tbsp brine, from the jar of cornichons

Cut the kernels from the cob using a chef’s knife, while standing the corn cob in a large bowl. Slowly slide the knife under the kernels, keeping as close to the cob as you can (and keeping your fingers well out of the way). Discard the cobs and set aside.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or pan. Add the onion, with a pinch of the salt, cooking until translucent and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute or two more, until soft.

Turn the heat to medium-low. Add the corn kernels, butter beans, sweet pepper, Roma tomato, and thyme sprigs, with the salt and a generous grinding of fresh black pepper. Stir well. Cook until the corn is barely tender and all ingredients are heated through, about 7-10 minutes.

Remove the thyme sprigs. Add the cherry tomatoes and cornichons, with a tablespoon of brine from the jar. (Make sure you get some of the caramelized onions along with the brine.) Mix well and serve immediately.

Overhead view of Garden Succotash with Cornichons

I will be tracking down these cornichons as soon as this jar is empty. They’re a staple in my cooking and on my snack table, too. They’ve taken their place alongside the Maille’s mustards that fill almost an entire shelf on the door of my refrigerator.

But, you don’t have to live vicariously through me – these cornichons are in wide release across Canada. And if you live in Metro Vancouver, you’ll also soon have an opportunity to sample some of Maille’s more exclusive offerings, in person. Maille is going to be bringing their Flavour Studio to New Westminster’s Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Fest on August 20th. They will be holding culinary workshops and mixing custom gourmet mustards. Their exclusive fresh mustard will be on tap and headmaster mustard sommelier Harry Lalousis will be there to demonstrate ways to embellish your cooking with Maille’s mustards.

I’ll be there and I’ll be writing about the day shortly afterward, so if you don’t join me, you’ll have to settle for experiencing it all vicariously. I know what my choice would be.

I received a jar of Maille’s Gherkins with Caramelized Onions from Maille Canada, but received no other consideration. All opinions are my own.

Honey Dijon Lamb Meatballs

Lamb meatballs with rosemary roasted potatoes and sauteed greens

Mustard does something magical to lamb. Slather it on a leg of lamb before roasting and it forms a beautiful crust. Add some to a shepherd’s pie and it will marry the flavours of all the seasonings. Dollop a tablespoonful into a meatball mixture and it will add tenderness along with flavour. I enjoy the pairing so much that I sometimes forget that there are other flavours that can complement lamb. I suppose it’s not surprising that when Maille Canada kindly sent me a sample of their famous Honey Dijon mustard, I started making plans for the ground lamb in my freezer.

Maille’s Honey Dijon is already a favourite of mine, but their squeeze bottle packaging was new to me. It’s meant for outdoor eating, so I wanted to make something that would showcase the flavour of the mustard, but would also translate easily to the barbecue.

Our weather has been a little spotty of late, so I roasted these meatballs in the oven. But, they will roast just as beautifully in a grill pan on the barbecue. I make my meatballs with rice, which means I don’t have to exclude gluten-free eaters. You could easily replace the rice with another grain or quinoa. I cooked the rice in a tomato-rich vegetable broth, but you could use chicken broth, lamb broth, or plain water, instead.

These meatballs get their tenderness from the mustard and a bit of yogurt, with a tiny bit of extra piquancy from some finely diced cornichon (a trick I picked up from Dorie Greenspan). They’re great on their own, or with a bit of tomato sauce. They’re lovely in soup and I suspect they’d elevate a meatball sandwich, especially if you served them on a baguette with cultured butter and a generous slathering of honey Dijon.

Honey Dijon Lamb Meatballs

Makes 15-20 meatballs

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 cup cooked basmati rice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp plain French-style yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Maille Honey Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cornichon, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • zest of 1/4 lemon, grated
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • a good grinding of black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Or, use a grill pan and cook on the barbecue with the lid closed.

In a large bowl, gently but thoroughly mix all ingredients. Shape into balls of 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture and place on lined baking sheet.

Bake for about 25 minutes, until nicely browned and cooked through. (If you’re using a meat thermometer, cook to 160°F.)

Serve immediately. Leftovers can be gently reheated in broth or tomato sauce, or added to soup. Or, place them on a tray and freeze them, then transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag. They’ll keep for 3-6 months.

Maille Honey Dijon Mustard

Maille sent me two squeeze bottles of their Honey Dijon mustard. I’ve been working my way through one of the bottles, using it for sandwiches, salad dressings, and marinades. And now that summer’s about to begin in earnest, I’m glad to have a container of gourmet mustard that’s picnic-safe. The other bottle was sent home with my mother. My parents grill all summer long and they were eager to add it to their condiment arsenal.

I think this packaging is going to be a hit. People are seeking out higher quality sausages and cured meats for their al fresco meals these days. It makes sense that they’d want to elevate their condiment selection, too. Maille is certainly confident that’s the case – beginning this month, you’ll be able to find their honey Dijon in supermarkets, as well as gourmet stores. Barbecue culture is growing up.

I received two bottles of Maille’s Honey Dijon Mustard from Maille Canada, but received no other consideration. All opinions are my own.

The Perfect Pickle

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I received a jar of Malassol cornichons from Maille Canada, but received no other consideration. All opinions are my own.

A few weeks ago, I told you about the balsamic and honey mustard that Maille Canada was kind enough to send me. Well, I received another package from them, this one to replace the jar of Malassol cornichons that had opened in transit. I wasn’t expecting it, but I’m so glad they did.

I’ve always been fussy about pickles. Growing up, I wouldn’t touch dill pickles or gherkins, but I couldn’t get enough of my mother’s pickled beets, beans, or well, anything but pickled cucumbers. As an adult, I’ve softened my position, but I’d never fight anyone for one. Until now.

Maille’s Malassol cornichons are worth fighting for. Most pickles in North America are dill-heavy, with an eye-scrunching acidity. These cornichons (or gherkins) are well-balanced. There is dill in the mix, but not enough that you can’t taste the other flavours in the brine, including tarragon-infused mustard seed. There’s also a pleasing sweetness mixed in with the sourness you expect from pickles.

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Maille suggests serving them with charcuterie, tartare, or sauce gribiche, but you might find yourself eating them straight from the jar. It’s what happened at my house, so be warned.

I set aside five, just enough to make a variation on this potato salad. I skipped the capers and used sherry vinegar in place of red wine vinegar, as I wanted a more delicate balance to highlight the cornichons. The dressing and pickles worked beautifully together – a grown up potato salad that happens to be vegan and gluten-free.

Now, I’m left with two problems. The pickles are gone and the jar of less lofty gherkins that replaced them aren’t satisfying my pickle-loving partner the way they used too. Then, there’s the delicious brine that’s left in the jar. I’ve been adding it to dressings and sauces, but a little goes a long way. And I’m not Millennial enough (or at all) to drink it straight up. Any suggestions?

A Pause for Celebration

  

It’s Kevin’s Birthday today, so I’m busy celebrating. On Friday, I’ll tell you about something I made for him.

For now, admire the gift I got in the mail from Maille Canada. I’ll tell you what I did with those (besides eat them up more quickly than I care to admit) on Tuesday.

And here’s a teaser of something I’ve got coming up for you in a few weeks.

  
See you Friday!