Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Summertime crack.

Summertime crack, thy name is The Barefoot Contessa's Fresh Corn Salad.

Being from the middle west, I have an obsession affinity for fresh corn-on-the-cob. Growing up, every summer, we had it at least twice a week and if we were at my Granny & Gramps' house, I think we had it for every freaking meal. Seemed like it anyway.

The best part, of course, is shucking it. Second best was driving to the local farm market my grandparents frequented, Fulton Fruit Farm,  and helping pick it out. At the peak of the summer, they would just load up the trailer to the tractor and you would literally pick cobs out of the back of it. I cannot explain what it was about the whole endeavor but I just loved going to the barn on the farm to get fruit and veggies.  

My favorite is the bi-color corn, which are just a wonderful patchwork of goldrenrod and fresh butter colored kernels. Just in from the field, the corn is still cool from picking and the shuck itself an amazing emerald green color. Also fresh from the field, the silk is still free-flowing and not all gunked up into a brown clump (or at least not as much). You just cannot beat it. 

Last summer, my friends, Meg(a-Mind) and Sydney, introduced me to the most perfect summertime salad that I have ever encountered: The Barefoot Contessa's Fresh Corn Salad

The recipe, from her inaugural 1999 cookbook creatively titled The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, calls for a total of 7-8 items, over half of which I'd bet the majority of Americans have on hand, every day. 
  • Fresh corn-on-the-cob*
  • Olive oil
  • Cider vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Red onion (I personally prefer shallots)
  • Fresh basil - from my garden, oh yeah!
  • Goat cheese, if you want (I'm guessing any cheese would be swell)
That's it. 

And here's what you do to make it:
  • Cook the corn-on-the-cob (I nuke it in a Pyrex dish with some water and covered with plastic wrap for 6 minutes and it's perfection). 
    • BTW, grilling the corn takes this salad to 11. 
  • Cool the corn so you don't burn your fingers when you cut it off the cob
  • Get the corn off the cob
  • Frisee the basil 'cuz you fancy like that
  • Mix up everything in a bowl
  • Devour Eat it
I mean how brilliant is that? There's something about the crunchiness of the fresh corn, the bite of the onions/shallots and the vinegar, the earthiness of the fresh basil, the mellow goodness of the olive oil and goat cheese - all mixed together.......my mouth is watering just thinking about it. 

I just realized, this is possibly the one savory dish where I don't add garlic. I've thought about it, to be fair, but it's such perfection....why chance messing it up?
What it looks like, minus the basil and goat cheese.
It takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish and of course, the salad is actually better after it's had some time to meditate in the frig, although it's damn tasty served right away. 
I usually add the basil and goat cheese when I'm serving, but for the photo, I wanted to be able to show the finished product, although not exactly staged given that it's in a utilitarian plastic mixing bowl. 

If you've had a picnic/potluck in the last year, where you've asked me to bring a dish, I bet I brought this dish. It's seriously that yummy. And honestly, for every one bowl I bring to a group event (outside of my home), there have been double, if not triple, that many made that just went straight into mah bellah. Spouse, of course, is not a huge fan, being that he doesn't enjoy vinegary things. Just means there is more for me so no harm.

Do you have a favorite go-to-summer-salad? Or a less-than-8-ingredient favorite you love to make?

Side note: I am having serious, major, super duper pooper scooper 
The 'Shire withdrawal. 
As in, if I didn't have plans lined up for the next two weekends, 
my butt would be at the aeroporto right.this.very.second. 
I degenerated to the point of finding a video 
of my friend, from her professional life, and watching it. 
Oh alright, twice.
It's a sad state of affairs, peeps. 
A very sad state. 
<le sigh> 

*-I didn't think of it this winter but in the throes of cabin fever, I bet frozen corn would do. I'll try and report back sometime in January/February. 

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