Sharing stuff that I like, cooked, ate, did… you get the idea.
Summertime is filled with celebrations, get togethers, long days of sunshine (and, if you live where I do, oppressive humidity, but that’s another story) and a bounty of fresh, local food. There is nothing that makes me happier than going out to my garden to pick a tomato or some basil, or going to a farmer’s market to buy a bag of peaches or sweet summer corn. I admit that the early items from my garden don’t typically make it to a plate – I eat the blackberries straight from the bushes, the cherry tomatoes off the vine, and I’ll stop momentarily to admire the velvet fuzz of a home grown green bean before I happily chomp away at the crisp, sweet perfection. When summer production finally outpaces my ability to snack, one of the dishes I turn to is a simple summer salad that’s flexible and a great way to stretch veggies that I may have a limited supply of. It’s also easily scalable for a crowd.
Corn and Tomato Toss
5-6 ears of corn, husked
a couple handfuls of cherry tomatoes, or garden tomatoes that have been seeded and diced (this salad looks especially pretty with heirloom cherry tomatoes such as sungold, black cherry, or yellow or red pear tomatoes)
juice of one lemon
salad onion (or red onion or shallot, or green onion), diced
fresh herbs (along the lines of basil, lemon basil, chives, or cilantro)
Summer squash (lightly sautéed), diced cucumbers, feta cheese, goat cheese, bell peppers
1. Lightly steam the corn, let cool, and cut off the cob (I save the cobs for corncob stock – it’s delicate and sweet and a great base for soups).
2. Halve the cherry tomatoes and let the excess juices drain away.
3. Toss together the corn, tomatoes, and onion, as well as any add-ins you may wish to use. This salad works best with corn as the main ingredient, followed by the tomatoes, then onion, and a lighter touch if cheese is used.
4. In a small bowl, combine approximately 3 tablespoons of olive oil, a pinch or two of salt, and the juice of one lemon and whisk vigorously to combine (or, be like me, and shake it all up in a jar.) Now, taste a little of this, keeping in mind that it will be diluted across all the ingredients. Adjust the ingredients to taste.
5. Toss the corn mixture with the dressing. The dressing should be very light and not pool at the bottom of the bowl. Ideally, if you were to serve this at a gathering, it wouldn’t accidentally sauce the pasta salad you put on your plate next to it. Chill the salad at least an hour and up to 8.
6. Just before serving, chop the herbs and toss with the veggies. I’m quite fond of the combination of basil and corn, so that’s what I use the most often. When I use basil, I toss a chiffonade of basil in a little additional olive oil which helps prevent it from browning at the edges.