Charleston Succotash with Restaurant Style Fish and Marinated Cherry Tomatoes

One of Doc’s favorite foods to eat when we vacation in Charleston, SC is pan seared fish served on a bed of Succotash garnished with marinated cherry tomatoes. The fish in Charleston is fresh, coming to market daily. (If I’m at the beach I use Grouper, at home I use Cod.) The succotash is made from locally grown vegetables and full of Low Country flavor.  Charleston Succotash usually has Sea Island Peas but I have substituted field peas that can be sourced locally. The marinated cherry tomatoes add just enough acidity to the dish to balance the richness of the fish and succotash. The recipe directions are listed below in the order I prepare it, starting with the marinated tomatoes. The tomatoes marinate while the succotash and fish cook. Enjoy!

Charleston Succotash with Restaurant Style Fish and Marinated Cherry Tomatoes

Marinated Cherry Tomatoes
2 cups multicolored cherry and grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chiffonade basil leaves

Combine all ingredients. Let set on the counter until ready to serve. Recipe is best if you have time to marinate it a couple of hours.

Charleston Succotash
4 ears fresh corn, still in husks
1/2 pound thick cut bacon
10 ounce bag frozen lima beans
One (15 ounce) can field peas with snaps
1 1/2 cups sweet onion, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic (I use minced garlic in a jar)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Roast corn in husk 12 minutes. Remove from oven until cool enough to handle. Shuck and remove silks. Cut kernels from cobs then scrape cobs to get the corn milk. Set aside.

In a very large skillet, cook bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels, then crumble into bits. Reserve 3 tablespoons bacon grease. Discard or freeze any remaining grease. 

Cook lima beans according to package directions. Drain and reserve. Drain field peas and reserve. Using the same skillet, the bacon cooked in, add reserved bacon grease. Over medium high heat; cook onion 2 minutes. Add bell pepper then cook until onion is translucent. Add garlic, lima beans, field peas, thyme, and oregano. Cook until hot. Add butter. Stir. Taste, then season with salt and pepper. Garnish with bacon bits. To serve: place Charleston Succotash on a dinner plate. Top with Restaurant Style Fish. Garnish with Marinated Cherry Tomatoes. 

Restaurant Style Fish
4 (six ounce portions) white fish (ex: Grouper or Cod), skin on one side if possible
6 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Sprinkle fish with kosher salt and pepper on both sides. Heat oven safe skillet over medium high heat until pan is hot. Add olive oil and heat until oil ripples. Sear fish, skin side down for 2 minutes. Flip fish and place pan in oven. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until fish is 145ºF.  

Tip: Cook fish 8 to 10 minutes (in the oven) per inch of thickness or 4 to 5 minutes per half inch. If you can’t find fish with the skin on one side, proceed with the recipe anyway. If the fish sticks, cook an additional minute and it should release from the pan. Subtract the minute from the total cooking time. Example: Sear fish 2 minutes, flip, then cook in oven 7 to 9 minutes.

Published in The News and Neighbor on July 21, 2021.

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