Recently, I was reading Delancey, an excellent memoir about the opening of a pizzeria in Seattle written by one of my favorite bloggers, Molly Wizenberg. In one chapter, she shares the recipe for a corn salad they served at the restaurant on their opening week at the end of August. After months of dreaming about it, her husband and her were finally serving food to paying customers. As novices in the restaurant world, they had to learn their trade fast. Molly was responsible for first courses and she created simple salads made with the freshest market produce—the kind of dishes they would eat at home. Reading her recipe, I realized I had everything on hand to make the salad, so we tried it that very night and fell in love with its fresh and generous taste. It’s the kind of salad that’s so simple but so delicious you can’t believe you didn’t come up with it yourself.
I’m using my own homemade shallot vinaigrette in the recipe because I always keep a jar of it in the fridge. It’s handy to put together a quick salad such as this one, and its taste gets better over a few days (I usually use it within a week). Take the jar out of the fridge 5-10 minutes before using the vinaigrette so the olive oil becomes liquid again.
To make a quick job of prepping the corn kernels, I use the miraculous microwave method to shuck the corn, which also slightly steams the kernels, making them just right for this salad.
Use whichever tomatoes you have on hand. Mixing colors and sizes makes for a beautiful plate, but simple red garden tomatoes will of course also do the trick—just make sure they’re perfectly ripe and juicy.
Makes 4 servings (and extra vinaigrette)
For the vinaigrette
½ cup [125 ml] extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup [60 ml] Sherry vinegar
1 tsp [5 ml] Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, minced
A generous pinch of sea salt
Freshly crushed black pepper
For the salad
Enough tomatoes for 4 people, for example:
1 ear of corn, kernels cut off from the cob and lightly steamed (see the microwave shucking method)
5-6 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Crunchy sea salt, such as Fleur de sel or Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
To make the vinaigrette
Put all the ingredients in a screw top glass jar. Tightly close the jar and shake vigorously. Put aside until ready to dress the salad, or store in the fridge if you’re making it ahead of time.
To make the salad
Place the sliced tomatoes on a large serving platter (or divide between individual serving plates). Scatter corn kernels over the tomatoes. Season with fleur de sel, then drizzle generously with vinaigrette. Sprinkle with the fresh basil. Serve immediately with crusty bread to mop up the juices.
Recipe credit: Adapted from Molly Wizenberg.
More Corn Inspiration: