With summertime just around the corner, the place to be is outdoors… gather the whole family together for a backyard barbecue or a picnic in the park! There’s no better way to celebrate than relishing in the freshest fruits and vegetables of the season, and this dish does that oh, so well =P You can use either white or yellow corn in this salad, but I much prefer the sweet, almost honey-like, taste of white corn. Its sweetness plays nicely with the tartness of the limes =)
What I love about this salad is the many different twists and turns you can take to make it your own. I usually make this salad with white peaches or nectarines (whichever one happens to look better that day) and pair it with a crisp, white wine, but you can use just about any summer stone fruit you like. Cherries would be just as good (but remember to remove the pits before tossing them in the salad) or even plums or pluots. If you’re planning on using any of these fruits, I’d suggest pairing the salad with a young Pinot Noir or rosé.
If you have access to a grill (be it a hardcore outdoor gas grill or a stovetop grill), you can add even more summertime flavor to this dish by grilling the corn instead. Just keep the corn on the cob, brush it with some oil and put it on the grill for about 7-10 minutes, until slightly charred. When it’s cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off the cob and toss them in the salad. You can also put the fruit wedges on the grill, but make sure the wedges aren’t too thin and brush them with oil beforehand. You don’t want to actually cook the fruit so only place them on the grill long enough to get grill marks, about a minute or so.
I chopped up my basil super fine along with my favorite Maldon salt to prevent the leaves from oxidizing (since basil leaves will turn black if cut in advance), but if you’d rather prefer a more rustic look, you can simply tears up the basil leaves by hand at the last minute and toss them in extra-virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper and dress the salad immediately after.
This salad works great as a side dish, but you can always turn it into a light summer meal by adding blanched green beans (preferably haricot vert) or edamame… call it a modern-day summer succotash, if you will =P Either way, summer never tasted so good
|PREP TIME||30 Min|
|COOK TIME||3 Min|
|READY IN||40 Min|
|3||ears white corn, shucked|
|3||white peaches, firm but ripe|
|1/8||teaspoon piment d’Espelette (See the Guide)|
|1/3||cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves|
|1/4||teaspoon sea salt (See the Guide)|
|2||tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (See the Guide)|
|sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste (See the Guide)|
|Large cutting board|
|Chef’s knife (See the Guide)|
- Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil over high heat. Once the water boils, salt the water and cook the corn for 3 minutes to get rid of the starchiness. Take out the corn with tongs and shock in ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
- Once cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off each cob into a large mixing bowl.
- Rinse peaches under cold water and pat dry. Using a paring knife, slice each into thick wedges and place them in the same bowl. Add the zest and juice of one lime and piment d’Espelette (if using). Toss to coat evenly.*
- Coarsely chop up basil leaves on a clean cutting board. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt over the basil and continue to chop until fine. Add to a small mixing bowl along with extra-virgin olive oil. Mix to combine.**
- Just before serving, dress the corn salad with the basil mixture and toss to coat evenly. Finish with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with fresh whole basil leaves, if desired.
- The acid from the lime juice prevents the peaches from oxidizing, so don’t let the peaches sit around too long before adding the lime zest and juice.
- You can make the basil mixture a few hours in advance and store it in the fridge, but be sure to bring it back to room temperature before using.