Summer Corn Salad

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Are you ready for summer? I'm not so sure I am, but whether I am ready or not, summer is quickly approaching. I had my first taste of summer this past Memorial weekend thanks to a very simple and quick corn saute that I have been making every summer for quite a few years. There really isn't much to this dish - it's all about finding really good corn. I went to Chino Farms, a farm stand nestled into the hills of Rancho Santa Fe that is brimming with beautiful produce and exceptionally sweet corn. I figure that if the corn at Chino Farms is good enough for Alice Waters (who has been a patron of the farm for very many years, like 40), then it will certainly be good enough for me and my little corn salad. Surely a trip to your own local produce stand or farmer's market this summer for some sweet corn will do just fine. That being said, gosh, I hate to even say this, but I will: frozen corn will not suffice in this dish.


Warm Corn Salad with Shallots and Basil

Serves 6

This salad showcases sweet summer corn. It tastes wonderful either warm or cold and with either white or yellow corn.  This recipe was adapted from Ina Garten's Sauteed Fresh Corn recipe in Barefoot Contessa Parties! The butter is optional. I have made this salad both with and without the butter and it is delicious both ways. It just changes the flavor slightly. I suggest that if you are planning to make this salad ahead of time and serve it cold or room temperature that you leave the butter out of the recipe, as it tends to re-coagulate and give the corn a slight residue.


8 ears corn on the cob (white or yellow)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
2 small shallots, finely diced
salt
fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup fresh basil (about 6 leafs)


 Remove the husks and silk from the corn. Place the corn in a large shallow dish or bowl and use a knife to cut the corn off the kernel. (This will prevent the corn from going everywhere.)

Heat a large sauté pan with the olive oil on medium heat for 1 minute. Add the butter, let it melt and combine with the oil. Add the shallots to the hot oil and sauté for about 2-3 minutes until soft on medium to medium/low heat. Be careful not to burn the butter or the shallots. Turn down the heat if needed. Add the corn kernels and about 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Sauté the corn on medium/low to medium heat for approximately 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. The corn should be crisp, but cooked completely and not starchy. Taste for more salt and pepper. Transfer the hot corn to a medium sized serving dish and let stand 5 minutes to cool slightly. Chop the basil at the last minute, and sprinkle on top just before serving, or else the basil will turn black and wilt if the corn is too hot.

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