July 17, 2013 in Features

Summer salads, fresh from the cob

Kernel by kernel, corn can create mouth-watering sides
Judy Hevrdejs Chicago Tribune
 

Remove the kernels from a cob of corn with the help of a Bundt pan.
(Full-size photo)

Indulge your appetite for sweet corn by shopping farmers markets, roadside stands and local grocers for freshly picked ears, then crunching your way around cob after cob after cob.

And when you decide you’ve had enough, let these recipes seduce you into indulging one, two or three more times with salads that embrace summer’s best produce and the season’s easygoing attitude.

Sure, a pair of cool corn soups got our attention when we opened Melissa Hamilton’s and Christopher Hirsheimer’s book, “Canal House Cooks Every Day” (Andrews McMeel, $45), but it was their take on a classic corn-and-bean succotash that won us over. It begins with leftover corn, and “you needn’t worry if you have a little more of one ingredient or a little less of another,” the authors write. “This salad isn’t finicky.” Indeed, the salad is easily doctored. If you like, toss in some olives and salty cheese, like they do.

That’s summertime perfect. So is a salad from Martha Stewart’s team that pairs grilled corn with avocados.

“Heather Christo’s Generous Table: Sharing the Love of Good Food With Friends and Family” (Kyle Books, $29.95) celebrates the freshest of corn by mixing raw kernels with mango, then tucking the combo into heirloom tomatoes for serving, or into small Mason jars for a more casual feel.

How do you choose terrific fresh corn? Well, don’t pull back the husks to see if it’s an ear you want because you’ll just dry out the kernels, writes Deborah Madison’s in her “Vegetable Literacy” (Ten Speed Press, $40). “Instead, feel the ear with your fingers to detect whether the kernels are filled out or not.”

Madison, who might serve freshly cooked corn with an herbed salt or salsa verde, suggests opting for organic corn whenever possible. “And don’t let a worm scare you if you find it on the tip of an ear. It’s just a little creature, easily knocked off its perch.”

Corn, String Bean and Potato Succotash Salad

Note: Adapted from “Canal House Cooks Every Day” by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer.

Cook: Put 4 thin-skinned waxy potatoes in a pot of salted cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. While potatoes cook, add 4 shucked ears of corn to the pot; cook 3-5 minutes. Remove corn from water; cool. Add 1/2 pound trimmed string beans to pot; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Scoop beans out of pot with a slotted spoon; cool quickly in a bowl of ice water. Drain potatoes when tender; about 20 minutes depending on size.

Assemble: Cut corn off cob into a large bowl. Cut potatoes into slices or chunks. Add to bowl. Drain green beans, add to bowl. Add 1 finely chopped shallot; a handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped; 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss gently.

Adjust seasonings, adding more oil if needed.

Servings: 4 to 6

Tomatoes Stuffed with Fresh Corn, Mango Salad

Note: Adapted from “Heather Christo’s Generous Table.”

Chop: Cut tops off 6 large heirloom tomatoes. Gently cut around inside edge of each tomato; use a spoon or your hands to scoop out most of the insides (reserve for another use), creating a cup. Sprinkle insides with salt and pepper. Cut off kernels from 4 ears of corn and place in a large bowl. Add 1/2 mango, peeled and diced; 1/2 bunch green onions, thinly sliced; 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes; 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro; 1/2 jalapeno, finely minced; 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice.

Mix: Gently mix to combine; season with salt. Spoon salad into tomato cups. Transfer to a platter. Garnish with fresh chive blossoms or another edible blossom (such as nasturtiums). Serve at room temperature.

Servings: 6

Grilled Corn, Avocado and Cilantro

Note: Adapted from “Meatless: More Than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipes,” from the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living (Clarkson Potter, $25).

Cook: Heat grill to medium high. Grill 4 ears of shucked corn, rotating often until lightly charred, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly. Cut kernels from cob. Toss corn and 1 sliced avocado gently with 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus 1 tablespoon each fresh lime juice and olive oil. Season with coarse salt.

Servings: 4


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