Saturday, August 22, 2009

Corn and Tomato Salad

It's taken a while for the local tomatoes and sweet corn to ripen due to the cold summer here in Chicago. Once they are here, it's one of the best times of the year to enjoy fresh local produce. If you can get to a farmer's market to find heirloom tomatoes, I highly encourage their use in many ways. Well, of course a BLT. For 10 months of the year we are relegated to those store-bought tomatoes from CaliMexico. These varieties are bred for shelf life- the transport across the country and such. Have you ever tasted a tomato right off the vine? Sweet corn so fresh you could eat it raw? That is summer time. Fire up the grill, tune your radio to AM720, and listen to Pat and Ron discuss the futility of the boys in blue.

This salad has unlimited variations, and I in fact rarely serve it the same way twice. One ingredient not mentioned in the list, but may be recognized in the photo is blue cheese. You could put blue cheese on dog sh*t and I might eat it. Wait you can't say that.

Corn and Tomato Salad with Basil Dressing
makes 6 servings

6 ears of sweet corn
5 medium tomato, heirloom preferred, seeded and chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
2/3 C red onion, sliced or diced

1/4 C good EVOO
1/4 C fresh basil, chopped
2 Tb fresh mint, chopped (optional)
2 TB white wine vinegar
1 TB lime juice
2 ts brown sugar, packed
1 medium garlic clove, minced

Grill the ears of corn over medium-high direct heat, turning every 4-6 minutes or so for a total of about 20-25 minutes. They should be moderately charred on all sides. The easiest way to slice corn off the cob is by placing on a bundt cake pan. Thanks Alton, but I still don't have a bundt pan. But you might.

Immersion blender sticks are great for making salad dressings, flavored oils, etc. No need to whisk oil in slowly to ensure the emulsion, you can take the lazier route if available. Much handier than a bundt pan.

Combine all dressing ingredients into cup and blend until smooth, or whisk in small bowl until incorporated.

Combine all ingredients into a bowl and toss it up. Serve immediately and enjoy your summer while it lasts.

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