A couple of weeks ago I posted a recipe for a warm octopus and chickpea salad. As good as I think that salad is, it requires both an ingredient not easily to hand as well as a lot of preparation time. And in the height of summer that’s not always what you want to do. This corn salad, however, is a different story. It’s not so much a recipe as a list of ingredients and you can vary the proportions according to your liking and how much of each you have. And getting the corn off the cob is as much hard work as you’ll have to do. Do get farm-stand sweet corn though—there’s no substitute for it. We’re very lucky in our town to have a local grower (Grisim’s Sweet Corn) set up a stand as soon as their corn is ready for harvest—the sweetness of freshly harvested sweet corn can’t be beat. In this recipe I also use cucumber and sweet onions from our CSA (the excellent Open Hands farm) and heirloom tomatoes and mint from my garden. The secret weapon is Rancho Gordo’s pineapple vinegar, which lends just enough tang to liven up the salad but doesn’t in any way fight with any of the other flavours. However you do it, you’ll end up with a great and easy side dish for barbecues and potlucks—it’s particularly good with simply grilled steaks.
- 2 ears worth of fresh sweet corn
- 1 cup diced heirloom tomatoes
- 1/2 cup seeded and diced cucumber
- 1 cup diced sweet onion
- A couple of large sprigs worth of mint, torn by hand
- 3 tblspns Rancho Gordo pineapple vinegar (or any other mild, fruity vinegar)
- 1 tblspn butter (or olive oil if you want to keep it vegan)
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, a few grindings or to taste
- Place the diced onion in a large salad bowl with the salt and vinegar.
- Heat the butter over medium heat till it foams and subsides. Add the sweet corn kernels and saute, stirring often till it darkens and some of the kernels begin to brown around the edges.
- When the corn is done, add it to the bowl with the onions. Then add all the other ingredients and toss to mix thoroughly.
- Serve warm or chill it first if you prefer.
- I would not advise using balsamic vinegar in this—it’s too strong and won’t let the corn shine. Ditto for sherry vinegar. A nice apple cider vinegar might be good, but I do highly recommend the Rancho Gordo pineapple vinegar—especially as it’s half the price of their banana vinegar (which I also wouldn’t use here).
- Speaking of pineapple, this year I’m growing a variety of mint called pineapple mint. I don’t know that it has any pineapple flavour as such but it’s far milder than spearmint or peppermint and works really well here.
- As for tomatoes, so far I’ve been using mostly Jaunee Flamme, an orange tomato with deep sweet flavour that’s also prolific and early—and in our short Minnesota growing season I cannot recommend those two last qualities too highly.
- As I said, vary the proportions as you like or need to—but don’t use any more of any other ingredient than you do of corn.