Well, we’re in the middle of another heat wave here on Long Island or, as the weatherman said today “It’s only going to be in the 90s for the next week, but it will feel like triple digits.” Only the 90s? I’m not even going to go into the humidity, except to say it just ain’t right.
Which brings me to dinnertime. Obviously too hot to cook inside. It was even too hot to cook outside on the grill. I had leftover smoked brisket from a dinner we made for friends last night, and a bunch of leftover grilled corn on the cob. The brisket part was easy – brisket sandwiches. What to do with the corn? I wasn’t about to fry corn fritters, and the thought of creamed anything made me want to turn up the AC a few notches. As I pondered the question, I watered our veggie garden and thought how nice the yellow corn would look with the purple scallions I planted … and the red cherry tomatoes that were just ripe … and that shiny green basil … and a side dish appeared – cold corn salad.
The key to this salad is keeping it simple. Ripe, fresh vegetables, corn dressed with just a little salt, pepper and olive oil, and you really can’t go wrong.
On another note, this side becomes a main course easily with the addition of some cold poached shrimp or shredded chicken. I mixed the leftovers with some hot sauce into scrambled eggs the next morning for a lovely breakfast. I’m also planning on using the salad as a base for seared sea scallops as soon as the weather cools down enough to think about searing anything without needing a fan.
COLD CORN SALAD
- 5 medium ears of grilled corn (or about 3 cups cooked corn kernels)
- 12 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 2 scallions (whites and several inches of green), thinly sliced
- A handful of basil leaves
- 2 – 3 tablespoons of good olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sherry vinegar (optional)
Prep The Corn – You’re going to need to get those kernels off the cob. There are gizmos and fancy techniques for doing so, but here’s how I do it.
- Cut each cob in half.
- Stand a cob half up, with the flat side against the cutting board (so you have a stable base). If possible, use a flexible cutting board – they may make it easier to transfer the corn into a bowl without losing any kernels.
- Hold your knife at the base of the kernels, and slice them off by cutting vertically down the cob, separating the kernels from the cob.
- Rotate the cob and continue doing this until you’ve done it all the way around.
- The cob shouldn’t have any kernels left on it. If you feel like you weren’t close enough to the cob when you starting slicing and that the bottom half of the kernels were left on the cob, you can scrape the bottoms of those remaining kernels off with the edge of your knife.
- Transfer the kernels to a bowl and continue with the rest of the cobs.
- TIP: When you’re done, you’ll have a bunch of naked corn cobs. Don’t throw them out!!! Toss them in a resealable plastic bag and pop them in your freezer. Next time you’re making chicken, shrimp or veggie stock throw in some of the cobs and they’ll add some very nice, subtle sweetness.
Make The Salad
- Mix together the corn kernels, tomatoes, and scallions.
- Tear or finely slice the basil and add it to the corn.
- Drizzle 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil onto the corn salad.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
- Mix the salad gently to combine all the ingredients and taste it. If it seems flat, add a splash of vinegar.
Yield: About 4 cups
- Add a quarter teaspoon of smoked paprika for some smoky flavor.
- For a spicier salad – substitute fresh cilantro for the basil and add a generous pinch of ground cumin, along with some lime juice and minced red pepper and jalapeno pepper.