Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Refreshing Salad of Mid-Summer Vegetables

Even though it has only been a week since my last post, it feels much longer than that to me. My blog has been pretty much completely out of my mind for all of that time. Typically, I think about it frequently....what I will post techniques or recipes that I want to try and perhaps write about...what kinds of things people might be interested in seeing.... But recently other things have been occupying my thoughts and filling my days. One of those things is the Olympics. I admit it. Everything gets put on the backburner during the Olympics—even sleep.  I love the Olympics.  So today, so there won't be too much time between posts, I thought I would write a short post to share a very simple recipe for a cool and delicious mid-summer salad that we have been enjoying during these hot and busy days.

Before I talk about the salad though, I wanted to share one of the other big things that has been occupying my time for the past week: I have been updating the website for my business, Simple ▪ Food. I'm not particularly tech-savvy so it took me more time than I had anticipated. But it is finished now and I'm very excited about its new look. More importantly, it will now be very easy for me to make updates to the menus, class schedules, etc. Even if you don't live in the Kansas City metropolitan area I encourage you to check it out if you are interested in learning more about me and some of the things I do when I'm not blogging.

As for the salad, not surprisingly for this time of year, it features roasted corn. I know I have mentioned before how much I love these kinds of salad. We eat them all summer long. I just posted one a couple of weeks ago and if you look on the recipe page you will find several others. When accompanied by just about any kind of meat or fish (grilled steak, sautéed pork chop or chicken breast, a nice filet of salmon or halibut, etc.) they make a substantial meal. But when served with sliced vine-ripened tomatoes, a grilled cheese sandwich or a quesadilla they make a meal that is satisfying without being heavy.

In addition to roasted corn, this salad features a mixture of cooked and raw vegetables (the usual suspects for this time of year—zucchini, green beans, cherry tomatoes, red onion), an abundance of fresh herbs and a sharp, garlicky vinaigrette.

It is excellent served at room temperature, but because the weather has been so very hot I have particularly enjoyed eating it chilled. Because a vinaigrette will eventually turn the green beans an army green color, if you are going to make the salad ahead and serve it cold, leave the green beans out and increase the quantity of raw zucchini.  But no matter what temperature you serve it, you will find that it is so speedy and so easy that you will be able to get back to watching the Olympics in no time at all.

Salad of Roasted Corn, Zucchini, Green Beans,
Cherry Tomatoes & Herbs

1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 t. red wine vinegar
1 small (or half a large) clove of garlic, smashed to a purée with a pinch of salt
2 to 3 T. olive oil

2 large ears of corn in the husk
4 oz. Green beans, cut in one inch pieces on the diagonal (optional)
1 small zucchini (about 4 oz.), washed and dried, ends trimmed away
1 to 2 oz. red onion, thinly sliced and rinsed (about 1/3 to 1/2 c. sliced onion)
2 T. coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 T. basil chiffonade
1 T. minced chives
1 c. cherry tomatoes (mixed colors, if possible), halved
Salt & Pepper

Place the lemon juice and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in the garlic along with a generous pinch of salt. Set aside for a few minutes to allow the lemon and vinegar to soften the garlic. Whisk in 2 T. of the oil. Taste and correct the seasoning and balance. The vinaigrette should be quite tangy.

Place the corn, in the husk directly on the oven rack of a preheated 375° to 400° oven. Roast the corn for about 20 minutes. To test for doneness, give the tip of the ear a squeeze—the kernels will feel firm, but springy, through the husks. (If you were to squeeze it before putting the ears in the oven, the kernels would feel very firm...almost hard.) Remove the husks as soon as you are able to comfortably handle the corn. As long as it is in the hot husk, it will continue to cook. If necessary, use a thick kitchen towel to hold the corn if it is still too hot to handle comfortably after about 5 minutes. Cut the kernels off of the cooled cobs. You should have a generous 1 1/2 cups of roasted corn. Set aside to cool.

If adding the green beans, while the corn roasts bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Season with salt. Drop in the beans and boil until just tender. Lift the beans out of the water and spread on a towel to cool.

Using a mandoline slicer, slice the zucchini very thinly crosswise (less than 1/16th inch thick, if possible).

Place the cooled corn, green beans (if using), zucchini, onions, herbs and cherry tomatoes in a large bowl. Season with salt (generously) & freshly ground pepper. Drizzle the vinaigrette over and toss to combine. If the salad seems dry, or is too acidic, add another tablespoon of olive oil. Toss again. Taste and correct the seasoning. Makes 4 cups of salad.


Katrina said...

Your website looks awesome! I have the most perfect kitchen for classes. So wish you could come here! Really miss your classes!

And those dadgum Olympics. Been losing sleep over them, too! I was gone until about 9:00 the night of the girl's gymnastic finals and still watched until midnight once I got home! So crazy. Glad they only come every four years for a couple weeks! ;)

Paige said...

I'm glad you like the new site! And it would be so nice to get to teach a class in your kitchen...wish I could.

I love gymnastices, too...but I'll pretty much watch anything that's on. And it happens every two years!!!...I get stuck in front of the TV during the winter Olympics as well.