A lot of the time when I am preparing to make something, I don’t plan in advance. I might have an idea of what I am feeling in the moment, but most often (especially when I am lacking inspiration), I walk out of my apartment to one of the neighboring food markets and let the ingredients speak to me. Sometimes I find a fruit or a veggie that looks particularly good. Sometimes I find a piece of meat or fish that speaks to me. Sometimes I am not so lucky but grab a bunch of random things anyway, hoping that I will be able to combine them in a meaningful way later. And sometimes I am luckier than I could imagine and find a bunch of spectacular ingredients that are begging to be put together.
Today seemed to be one of those days. My day didn’t start out particularly well– after a series of mishaps where I somehow made it to the bank without my ATM card and then arrived at the farmer’s market on the wrong day, I ended up in Whole Foods, despondent, dejected, and yet somehow determined to make this whole grocery thing work. Luckily, all I needed to do was walk to the produce section to instantly feel better. I don’t know what it was about today, but it almost felt like I was a kid wandering around in FAO Schwarz. Almost. The main difference was that instead of candy and toys, the produce section was filled to bursting with things like beautiful ripe peaches, ruby red tomatoes, and cheap, cheap, cheap ears of corn. I wandered around dazedly putting things in my basket, limited only by the memory of the last time I was overwhelmed by the selection of awesome-looking produce and had to race to eat things before they went bad. The resulting star of today was this lovely, bright, refreshing corn salad.
It was a breeze to make and required very, very minimal cooking, which was perfect because turning the oven on in 95-degree weather is about the last thing I want to do. Grilling the corn would be a lovely way to do this, but because I do not have a grill I broiled the corn instead. While the recipe below does require you to turn your oven on, it is only for a very brief time. And I assure you– it is well worth it for the toasty, slightly charred flavor that you won’t get by steaming or boiling the cobs. The rest of the veggies are thrown in raw for a breezy summer cool-down salad with a bold cumin vinaigrette kick. Pro tip– let this baby sit in the marinade for a while. It, like many fine things, gets better with age!
Bold Summer Corn Salad
Adapted from this recipe for a cumin cucumber salad.
4 ears of corn
1 large cucumber
3 medium tomatoes
1/2 red onion
1 14.5 oz can black beans
1.5 cups lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Husk the ears of corn, making sure to remove all of the silk. Rub the corn with a tiny amount of butter and place on a baking sheet. Move the top rack of your oven six inches from the broiler and turn the broiler on high. Give the broiler a moment to heat, then add the corn. Cook for 10-15 minutes, rotating often, until slightly browned.
Dice the cucumber, tomato, and onion into corn-kernel sized chunks. Mince the shallot. Mince the jalapeno, removing the seeds if you would like your salad to be less spicy. Combine all of this in a large bowl with the beans.
When the corn is done and has cooled enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cob and add them to the large bowl. Stir everything to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, salt, and pepper. When thoroughly combined, add this dressing to the salad.
Mix the salad well. It is ready to serve as soon as it is combined, but will continue to get better as the flavors are allowed to meld. Enjoy!