Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Grilled Sweet Corn and Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

What does summer mean to you? No school? Baseball games? Vacations? Napping in a hammock? Lounging at the beach? What about tomatoes and sweet corn? Isn't that as essential to summer as sunscreen and flip-flops? Well, hell yes!

The summer of 2010 in Chicago has been much different than the past summer. What's that Tom? We just set a record for the longest string of back-to-back 80's in 140 years of official Chicago weather observations, dating back to 1871? No shit...

The warm days and frequent rains have been great for the local produce, with some early tomatoes and sweet corn already hitting the markets. Go get churself some!

We've done this before, so you might be familiar. I've found a much easier method if you are not using fresh, ripe, heirloom tomatoes- grape or cherry tomato. Take the extra 3 minutes to squeeze out the seeds once halved, you'll remove some unwanted juice as well. The preferred method of grilling the corn is without husks, (too much steam) as that method will provide a nice charred profile to your tender sweet corn.

Grilled Sweet Corn and Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

6 ears of sweet corn
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, split in half and seeded
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1/2 C red onion, diced

1/4 C good EVOO
1/4 C fresh basil, chopped, plus some for garnish
2 Tb fresh mint, chopped
2 TB white wine vinegar
1 TB lime juice
2 ts brown sugar, packed
1 medium garlic clove, minced

Prepare grill for medium-high direct heat. Grill corn until nicely cooked and charred, turning often, for about 20 minutes. Let them ears cool enough to handle, then slice off kernels into a large mixing bowl. Add the tomato, pepper and onion. For the vinaigrette, combine all ingredients into something, depending on your method of emulsification- zap with a stick blender, hit it with a real blender, or whisk in the oil in a steady stream. If not using a blender, the basil and mint should be chopped finely. Add the vinaigrette, mix well, then toss in some small basil leaves for garnish.

The days of sitting on the back porch cleaning up some ears won't be here forever...just like that string of 80's, enjoy while you can.

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