Sunday, August 1, 2010

Summer Corn and Pepper Salad

We are on salad duty tonight for family dinner, and I wasn't sure that everyone in the family would love cucumber salad as much as I do, so I decided to offer an alternative. The first corn of the season showed up at our farmers' market today and I had two pepper halves from last summer still in the freezer. I remember making something similar the summer I was pregnant--not sure if I replicated that tasty recipe or not, but I'm happy with how this one came out.

I roasted the corn first since I needed to roast the pepper halves, but I think you could just take the corn from the cob along with the scrapings and cook directly in the pan if you wanted. In that case, you would want to add earlier than the roasted pepper. In fact, if you didn't want to turn on the oven at all, you could add the pepper to the pan raw. I thought that as our pepper had been frozen, it would be tastier to roast it first. Of course, you could go the other direction entirely and roast the onion and then omit the saute pan. The options are many!

4 ears corn
1 red, orange or yellow pepper or combination of the three
1-2 TBSP olive oil
1/4 large onion, diced (I like a fine dice for this recipe, about the size of a corn kernel)
Generous sprinkle of salt and pepper
Small dash of champagne vinegar (optional)

  1. If you wish to roast the vegetables, preheat the oven to 450 degrees
  2. Place the corn (husks and silk still attached) on a baking tray, along with the pepper, halved (open sides down)
  3. Roast for 15-20 minutes
  4. Remove husks from corn and then use a knife to remove the corn kernels from the cobs. You can press the back of the knife on the cobs to make sure to get all the corn goodness (scrapings)
  5. Peel the pepper if desired and dice
  6. In a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium and add the onion
  7. Cook the onion until soft and starting to brown
  8. Add the corn and pepper and cook for a few minutes
  9. Season generously with salt and pepper
  10. Taste and add a small dash of champagne vinegar if needed for brightness

Cucumber Salad

I love the sunomono at our local, now-sustainable sushi place and I tried to re-create it at home. The first time I made it this summer, I used the food processor to slice the cucumber, just because I already had it out. This time, I remembered that we actually have a mandoline that was given to us last Christmas. What a joy to use! The slices are wafer thin. As an added bonus, I'm taking the salad to the house of those who gifted us with the mandoline and will happily tell show them that it is used and appreciated.

I could eat piles of this salad every day in the summer, especially when it's hot.

3/4 to 1 Asian cucumber (or any cucumber you like)
1/4 c. mirin
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP gomashio with seaweed (we have Eden organic) or
2 TBSP toasted sesame seeds ground in a mortar and pestle with 1-2 tsp salt or to taste

  1. Peel the cucumber in stripes, leaving a little of the dark green skin for contrast
  2. Slice the cucumber very thinly using a knife, mandoline or food processor
  3. In a flat-bottomed bowl or dish, mix the mirin, rice vinegar and salt. Taste and adjust ratio to your preference
  4. Toss the sliced cucumber in the marinade until well coated (the object behind the flat-bottomed dish is that more of the slices will be in direct contact with the marinade)
  5. Sprinkle generously with gomashio (you could also wait and do this right before serving)
  6. You can serve right away, but it tastes best if left to marinade for an hour or more. The cucumber will get less crunchy, but it is still delicious that way