Corn on the Cob. Is there anything that says 4th of July and summer more? Maybe watermelon and fireworks, but for me corn on the cob is the penultimate summertime food. I was thrilled when I heard that today’s focus for Food Network’s #SummerFest was corn!
When we were young, we took summers for granted. Now I love every minute, even when the temperature spikes over 100 degrees. The seasons are truly miraculous. When we take a moment to step back from the rush of everyday living, the wonder is everywhere I look. It is a shame we don’t take the time to savor it more often.
As a child I would anxiously await the arrival of fresh corn in the grocery store. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and in those days we didn’t have farmers’ markets like we do today. All we had were big supermarkets and were completely at their mercy when it came to fresh produce. Whatever they chose to stock is what we bought, never knowing where it came from or who grew it.
These days the farmers markets are full to the brim with freshly picked, delectable fruits and vegetables. In our area, the tomatoes and corn are at their peak and I couldn’t be happier. I wait all year for this wonderful season and its bounty.
With Hoosier parents, I ate a ton of corn in my life, and it is still my favorite vegetable. Some nights we would sit down at the picnic table and eat corn until we couldn’t hold any more, fully sated with butter, salt and the sweetest corn imaginable. Whenever possible, always buy white corn with the smallest kernels you can find. It is much sweeter and more tender than yellow corn.
My parents grew up in rural Indiana and I grew up hearing stories about the tomatoes they grew up with. Huge, juicy and full of flavor, I couldn’t even imagine it. I had only had hothouse tomatoes before and never cared for them. Then I had my first bite of an heirloom tomato. It was unlike anything I had ever eaten and I was in love. A few years ago The Artist and I planted heirloom tomato plants and had our first harvest. This year’s plants are loving the long, hot days, I swear growing inches overnight! Soon we will have beautiful red and purple tomatoes to enjoy.
Today’s salad is a celebration of everything summer has to offer. Full of the freshest vegetables you can find, it is the perfect side dish to any grilled meats, poultry, or seafood. My favorite additions to the corn and tomatoes are onions, bell peppers, and zucchini, but you can add anything you like. I also like Poblano or Anaheim peppers which add tremendous flavor and a hint of heat. Go to the market and buy the best and freshest vegetables you can find and toss them into this salad. Eating seasonal produce is getting the best at its best.
While this salad is most delicious during the summer, you can make it all year long by using frozen corn. Frozen vegetables are harvested at their peak and flash frozen, sealing in their flavor and freshness. They are the next best thing to eating freshly picked vegetables.
Make sure you check out all the recipes listed below for even more ideas of how to serve fresh corn!
I hope you have a wonderful holiday, celebrating our Nation’s birth with your family and friends. Happy Fourth of July!!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
Most people overcook corn on the cob. It only needs 2 to 3 minutes in well-salted water to barely take the rawness out of it. If you cook it too long it becomes tough and starchy. The kernels should still pop in your mouth with each bite. When serving for a meal, this should be the last thing you cook just before everyone sits down at the table.
Some people are worried about consuming vinegar, but they are all fine except for malt vinegar and some flavored vinegars. Always check the label for ingredients.
Kitchen Skill: Cutting the Kernels of Corn on the Cob
There are two ways to easily and safely cut the kernels off corn on the cob, but both depend on using a very sharp knife so you don’t have to exert a lot of pressure. Use a hot pad to hold corn that is fresh out of the boiling water.
The first method, and the one I use, is to break each cooked ear of corn in half. This creates a stable flat surface to set on the cutting board. No more wobbling which increases your chances of cutting yourself. Also, because you are working on shorter pieces, the kernels are less likely to fly all over the place. But if they are, set the cobs on a clean kitchen towel and use that to capture the cut kernels.
The second method is to utilize either an angel food cake pan or bundt pan. Set the cob on the center post of the pan, slender end up. Very carefully slice the kernels off the cob, letting them fall into the cake pan.
Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad
© 2011 Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook. All rights reserved.
Yield: 10 servings as a side dish
5 to 6 ears fresh corn, shucked
2 tbsp organic extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium Vidalia onion, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, trimmed and finely chopped
1 shallot, peeled and finely minced
3 to 4 plum or Roma tomatoes, preferably heirloom varieties, cubed
2 scallions, tough ends discarded, finely chopped, separate the white and light green portions (you will cook them) from the darker greens
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
6 tbsp organic extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bring a very large stockpot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook corn for about 3 minutes, spinning to make sure all sides are submerged equally. As it cooks the corn will turn more yellow. Using tongs, remove the corn from the water and set aside to cool slightly. Cut corn kernels from ears, transfer corn to a large bowl; discard cobs.
Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add onions, bell pepper, carrots, and celery and cook for 3 minutes or until onions are softened. Add shallots, light green and white portions of the scallions and corn to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add in the tomatoes and cook until warmed through, about 1 minute, tossing occasionally. Transfer to the large bowl and set aside.
In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the dressing ingredients. Secure the lid and shake vigorously until the ingredients have completely blended together. Remove the lid, taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
Pour about half the dressing over the vegetables in the bowl and toss until everything is evenly coated. Add the reserved green onions and toss again. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add more dressing if you like, but shake the jar again before using.
This salad can be served as soon as it is made or assemble up to 2 days ahead, cover and store in the refrigerator. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Make sure you check out all of these amazing recipes from my friends and follow us on Pinterest!
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Mexican Corn Salad “Esquites”
Virtually Homemade: Grilled Corn with Ancho Chili Butter and Fresh Lime
Domesticate Me: Campfire Chicken Packets with Zucchini, Corn and Cherry Tomatoes
Dishin & Dishes: Elote (Mexican Grilled Corn) Three Ways
Feed Me Phoebe: Corn on the Cob with Sriracha Lime Butter
Taste With The Eyes: Hello Summer Salad
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Fresh Corn, Roasted Tomato and Pickled Garlic Pizza with Cornmeal Crust
Red or Green?: Corn & Green Chile Corn Muffins
Made by Michelle: Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa
Blue Apron Blog: Summer Succotash with Cod and Pickled Grapes
Devour: Four Grilled Corn Favorites
The Sensitive Epicure: Cilantro Rice with Corn, Black Beans and Avocados
Pinch My Salt: Grilled Corn Guacamole
Daily*Dishin: Manchego Lime Roasted Corn
Weelicious: Corn Salsa
FN Dish: Off the Cob Salads
Create a New Tradition Today!
Unauthorized use, distribution, and/or duplication of proprietary material on The Heritage Cook without prior approval is prohibited. This includes copying and reprinting content and photographs. If you have any questions or would like permission, I can be contacted via email: theheritagecook (at) comcast (dot) net. Feel free to quote me, just give credit where credit is due, link to the recipe, and please send people to my website, www.theheritagecook.com. Please see the Disclaimers page for additional details.