Monday, May 31, 2010

Fresh Corn Salad

Ina Garten... Oh, how I adore her. My fancying of Ina will be quite clear after I will soon blog three posts in a row all dedicated to the East Coast Cutie. There are many, many reasons why I adore her. Good reasons, silly reasons... But I suppose I will spare you on this Memorial Day. The most important reason I love her is because of her food. It without fail, ALWAYS looks unbelievably delicious! And, it always is just that. Unbelievably delicious. The picture below shows a piece of grilled chicken breast. The poultry itself looks a bit scary to me in this shot, but the thing tasted amazing! It's chicken from Trader Joe's and it comes in this little pouch, with lots of liquid... I know it sounds horrific but something about all of those mysterious chicken juices kind of brines everything, in my opinion. I say that because this particular brand always grills beautifully and is very, very tender and moist. It was juicy and flavorful already with lots of salt and pepper, but then we gilded the lilly by butter-flying the breast, and then filling it to the brim with my mother's homemade pesto, mozzarella, and sliced of fresh vine tomatoes. It was devilishly good, and I'm not even a huge fan of the bird.

But, as good as this chicken was. That's not what I'm here to tell you about. What I'm here to tell you about is this gorgeous corn salad. I first had this recipe at my parents house in central Washington. They live way out in the county and have a lovely, sprawling view of the area and a massive covered deck to accompany it. They also have a huge gas grill and lots and lots of comfortable seating. You can see where this is going. I don't remember the occasion but we had a fabulous BBQ and this corn salad was in the mix. My mother had ear-marked the recipe from one of Ina's books and also happened to have a nice crate of fresh corn. So that was that. This recipe couldn't be simpler, well, it can be if you use good canned corn, but then it loses a bit of its glory... still excellent though! Corn, basil, red onion, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. That's it. My husband could eat gallons of this salad. Possibly in one day. It's that good! The last couple times I've made it I've used canned corn, and not to sound like a Trader Joe's Advertisement, but the best corn for crunch that I have found comes from them too. Nothing is as good as making this salad from sweet, fresh ears of corn. But out of season and in a pinch, canned corn is just fine. This recipe is delicious because you have crunch and sweetness from the corn, interesting flavor from the fresh basil, tanginess and brininess from the simple vinaigrette, and then plenty of salt and pepper ensure tons of flavor. It's great alongside grilled meats or just all by itself with a big bowl and spoon! You also might consider doubling the recipe because it will undoubtedly vanish way sooner than you will like it to!

Fresh Corn Salad
The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, 1999

5 ears corn, shucked
1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup chiffonade fresh basil leaves (directions follow)

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 3 minutes until the starchiness is just gone. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and to set the color. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob. (Yes, you can use leftover, cooked and cooled corn.)

Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature. Makes about 4 or 5 servings.
To make chiffonade: Stack basil leaves, then cut across the stack to make small "ribbons."


Annika said...

I LOVE reading your blog! its kinda a guilty pleasure,... So glad you're back to it!

Mardi said...

I'm so looking forward to summer and all the fresh produce that this valley offers us. And this corn salad is at the top of the list.

RachelleLouise said...

Annika - Thanks, lady! We are SO going to miss you two in Around the Table! Keep us posted if you start a new group! Thrilled that the blog is a bit of a guilty pleasure for you! Love that! : ) xx

Mom - I know, this salad is so good! I want to get my hands on some zucchini this year to make that relish! Maybe I can come home and we can make it together. And apricot jam! Will you let me know when the bings are in full swing over there?!! xoxo