Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Pleasures of Summer: Grilled Corn Salad

Everyone who knows me knows that I love my freezer. Small but mighty, our little upright can hold the butchered meat from a half pig and a whole lamb, a five-gallon bucket of blackberries, a dozen jars of freezer jam and the zip-locked bags (and bags and bags…) of roasted tomatoes that will see us through the winter.

The tomatoes that I thaw for sauces and braising this winter will conjure memories of the heat of summer, when I stood in the kitchen, knife in hand, chopping the big, heart-shaped astiana tomatoes into chunks to roast over a smoky fire. The berries, baked into cobblers and crisps on cold, rainy nights, will remind me of the taste of those same berries, popped fresh from the canes into my mouth, bursting with warm juice.

But, delicious as they are, they're still just stand-ins for the genuine articles that are flooding into local farmers' markets even as you read this. (Seriously, there are 60 farmers' markets in the metro area going on seven days a week during harvest season!) So I can only encourage you to go out and stuff yourself with tomatoes, corn, tomatillos, berries and melons to cement their height-of-the-season flavor in your mind, the better to reminisce over their flavors this winter, and look forward to their coming again next summer.

Grilled Corn Salad

6 ears of corn
1/2 red onion, chopped fine
2 dozen or so cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 c. olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press (1-2 tsp.)
1/2 c. finely chopped cilantro
Salt to taste

Optional add-ins:
Cooked, crumbled bacon
One cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1/4" cubes
One red bell pepper, chopped fine
Red pepper flakes

Build a fire in your grill. Shuck the corn, remove silks and break off end stalks. Place corn over a hot bed of coals, turning when the side facing the coals turns dark brown. (You can also boil the corn if you want.) When corn is done, cool slightly and stand ear upright, thick end down, on cutting board. Run sharp knife from the top to the bottom of the ear, cutting off the kernels. (Save the shaved cobs for making stock.)

In large salad bowl, combine all salad ingredients and toss. The salad will be better if allowed to stand at room temperature for an hour or so to allow the flavors to combine, so it's great to make ahead if you're grilling steaks or meats…just grill the corn first and make the salad.

Find more corn and tomato salad recipes, one from Jim Dixon and one from Mark Bittman.

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