I'm considering this week as the unofficial corn week at Melissa Clark headquarters (that is, my kitchen), mostly because I can't seem to get enough of it. I'll eat it raw, cooked (as in nuked), plain, buttered, in pasta dishes, creamed with blue cheese (yum!), in soups on those cold rainy days we just had, and most often, tossed into salads where its sweet, juicy bite goes so wonderfully with the slightly bitter baby lettuces one gets during the summer.
Here is my current favorite corn salad, the one I've been eating all month long. It's terrific on its own, but also benefits from a handful of shredded roasted chicken if you happen to have any leftover. Sometimes I add cheese, sometimes I don't. Cubed tofu or leftover roasted potatoes would be nice adds ins, too.
You can vary the veggies to match your latest farmers' market haul but I seem to always have tiny yellow zucchini, golden tomatoes, scallions, and cucumbers around to round out the corn and baby lettuces. Whatever you do though, don't skip the basil or scallion (or substiute another leafy herb plus onion or garlic). The salad really needs that allium tanginess combined with the green herbal character to make it shine.
Once you've got your veggies at the ready, toss them (use your hands!) with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper tp taste. You could make a proper vinaigrette with mustard and balsamic vinegar or what have you. But I never do. Summer means lazy, easy dinners whipped up from the season's best produce. Simplicity is key.
Corn, Cherry Tomato and Zucchini Salad with Basil and Baby Lettuces
Serves 2 to 4
1 ear corn, husked
2 cups thinly sliced small zucchini (from 2 small zucchini)
1 cup thinly sliced cucumber
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly chopped
8 large basil leaves, torn in pieces
Fresh lemon juice, to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
Salt and black pepper, to taste
8 cups washed and dried baby salad greens
Shaved parmesan, optional
1. If you want to cook the corn, microwave it on high for 2 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before slicing the kernels off. Or just slice the raw kernels off. I like this salad both ways. The cooked corn is more velvety-textured but the raw is sweeter.
2. Combine the kernels with zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions and basil and stir to mix well. Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil; sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine, taste, and adjust seasonings. Add the greens along with more lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper and toss, preferably with your hands, to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Sover with shaved parmesan if you like.