Let me tell you a little bit of my food history. My mother, my dear, dear mother, was and is a great cook. I was, however, a terrible eater. Onions? No way. Milk? Disgusting. Canteloupe? You must be joking…I even went through a stage where I would not eat anything white. Who does that?
I would eat certain familiar fruits – namely, apples and bananas. But vegetables? Out of the question. The only vegetables that existed as far as I was concerned were corn, potatoes, and the occasional cucumber if I was feeling really adventurous. But corn…corn was my go-to vegetable. Corn was my excuse…”but look, I ate my corn.” It’s yellow. It’s vegetably. And I ate it all. Clearly, I deserve a gigantic piece of cake for dessert.
Corn in my house came two ways: frozen in the winter or picked from Pearce’s farm stand in the summer. Pearce’s is still the best corn I can fathom, and anytime anyone from my family comes this way during summer, they automatically bring me 2 dozen ears of Pearce’s – no questions asked.
But, never would I have imagined as a kid that people ate corn salads. Yet, here I am, just this side of 30 years old, and corn salad has been a staple around our house for the last few months. I don’t know about where you live, but this week is definitely an Indian summer for us. After a week of 50* and soup, we’re back to 75* and sunny. I was happy to bring out this salad one last time before pulling out the boots and hats and mittens.
This corn salad is super fast and easy to put together. The simple dressing of cider vinegar and olive oil, plus basil, onions, and garlic, balance out the sweet corn perfectly. The just barely boiled corn has a fantastic crunch left to it, and the freshness of this salad will make you happy inside. Plus, everything is better when it’s pretty, and this salad has some great color to it. Surgeon General’s Warning: Eating a salad with this much onion and garlic may cause decreased smoochability.
(recipe adapted from Ina Garten on The Food Network)
(yields 4-5 servings as a side dish)
I barely messed with this recipe because I love it so much. I upped the corn ratio a little bit and added more basil than the original recipe called for. The only other change I made was to add 3 small cloves of minced garlic. I think this salad could handle up to maybe 4 or 5 cloves, depending on how close the people at dinner will be sitting. I've been toying with the idea of throwing some halved cherry tomatoes in there, but never have. If you do, let me know how it goes!
7 ears of corn, shucked
1/2 c. red onion, diced
3-5 small garlic cloves, minced (depending on your preference)
3 tbsp. cider vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
3/4 c. fresh basil, minced
Bring a pot of water to boiling. Boil the ears of corn, covered, for 3 minutes and then plunge into a bath of ice water. You want to bring down the temperature of the corn immediately. When the corn is cool, cut the corn off the cob, as close to the cob as possible.**
Toss the corn kernels into a bowl with the onion, garlic, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Cut and add basil just before serving. Serve cold or at room temperature.
**Here's a handy tip for cutting corn off the cob: Stick the tip of the corn into the center hold of a bundt pan or angel food cake pan. As you cut the kernels, they will fall into the "cake" part of the pan and not all over your kitchen counter and floor. A shallow bowl works okay too, but the bundt pan is pure genius.