Cooking truly “in season” can be challenging sometimes but in today’s world grocery stores can supply fruits and vegetables from other states or countries year around. We would all like fresh tomatoes in January sometimes, right? However, you will notice that the best flavor of fruits and vegetables is when they really are “in season” and at their peak ripeness. I emphasize this fact because this recipe takes advantage of those “in season” flavors. A friend who makes the second version of this recipe often tried using canned corn instead of freshly grilled corn and realized the quality of the dish was compromised and didn’t measure up. The intense flavors just weren’t present.
Luckily, we live in Oregon close to the farm country, where we have many farms to choose from that grow the best vegetables. We have two favorite farms that we frequent in summer, one of them being Bauman Farms, a family run business that produces the best corn (and apple cider donuts), among other things. Hubby begs to run out to Bauman’s for corn or whatever, just so he can sample the donuts. He knows better than to bring a bag of them home.
Another farm we frequent for corn is Schlechter Farm. Besides grabbing a few cobs of corn here from time-to-time over the summer, a friend and I go out to this farm towards the end of corn season to buy a couple of bushels so we can make up corn packets for the winter. We have a whole system of shucking the corn out on our deck, putting the cobs in hot water for a a few seconds, then a cold water bath, and cut the corn off the cobs and seal them in packets with a food saver.
When ML and I go out to Schlecter Farm each year, we tell ourselves that THIS year we won’t miss the sign to turn into the farm. We’ve been going to this farm for years so you’d think we would know where the sign was to turn, but each year we end up passing it and have to turn around. We have found a great spot on this country road to turnaround, and seem to know that spot better than the place to turn into the farm. Last year ML couldn’t go with me to the farm so I dragged hubby along. I’m telling him, now we have to look for the sign where to turn into the farm because ML and I always miss it. He is quite confident he will spot the sign and won’t miss it. However, we did miss it and have to turn around, and I knew just the place to do that! Wish us luck this year. It’s almost time to make that trek.
These two recipes are great summer salads that take advantage of the season’s vegetables. The bonus – two versions of this salad with some of the same ingredients, yet each has their own distinct heart or focus. These salads can be a meal on their own, and are also great with barbecued meat, chicken or fish.
Both salads feature grilled corn and tomatoes. This first one also includes red onion, cucumber, and zucchini.
Start with raw ingredients, except for corn, which needs to be grilled.
Dressing of oil, honey, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and spices.
Grilled Corn, Cucumber & Tomato Salad
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 corn on the cob, grilled
- 1 cup cucumber, cubed
- 1 cup zucchini, cubed
- 2 tablespoons red onion
- Juice from one lemon
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons oil (olive or canola)
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Dash of cayenne pepper
- Salt & pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons blue cheese (or feta, or goat cheese)
- Grill the corn on the BBQ to a slight char. When cooled shave the kernels off the cob. Set aside
- Cut cherry tomatoes in half and add to a medium sized bowl.
- Cube cucumber and zucchini and add to tomatoes.
- Diced red onion and add it to mixture.
- Add corn to salad ingredients.
- Mix together dressing ingredients. Pour over salad ingredients, being careful to watch the saturation of the vegetables. I slowly drip the dressing over the vegetables, stir, and then add more dressing as necessary. You don’t want to drown the vegetables, just kiss them with a little moisture.
- Crumble your cheese of choice over the salad just before serving.
Salad serves four. Options: serve over lettuce for a meal, or as a side dish.
Another version of this salad switches out the zucchini and adds avocado. Lime is used in place of lemon juice. Check it out:
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 1 ripe avocado
- 2 ears of fresh sweet corn
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- Honey Lime Dressing
- Juice of 1 lime
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- Dash of cayenne pepper
- Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Remove husks from corn and grill over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. The corn should have be slightly charred and tender but not mushy.
- Cut the corn off the cob, then scrape the cob with the back of your knife to get the juices.
- Set corn aside and let cool.
- Dice the tomatoes, avocado, and chop the cilantro.
- Combine all tomatoes, avocado, corn and cilantro with honey-lime dressing and mix gently, being careful not to mash the avocados.
- Let salad rest for 10-15 minutes to let the flavors marry.
- Whisk together lime juice, vegetable oil, honey, garlic, and salt and pepper.