Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad

You may find this a little strange, but the day that I spot those bright yellow ears of corn at the market is arguably one of the best days of my entire year.  I live for corn season.  I get a little too excited about corn, and I always end up buying way too much.  I go into a corn frenzy and stock up as if I will never be able to eat corn again.  I come back from the market, arms full of corn.  I love testing out new recipes and finding fun new ways to cook those kernels into my daily meals.

When you are buying fresh corn, look for ears of corn that still have the husks intact.  Take a quick sniff.  The corn should smell fresh and, well, like corn.  When you shuck the corn and open up those husks, your corn should have bright kernels.  The corn with bright yellow and white kernels is always the best.  It just means that the corn is super sweet and full of flavor.

Fresh corn just reminds me of summer.  One great way to use all of this fresh summer produce is in a colorful corn salad.  I put this delicious vegetable to good use by charring the corn on the cob.  You will hear the kernels pop and burst as they hit the hot grill.  I cut the warm grilled kernels off of the cob and toss them with sweet cherry tomatoes, red onion, and fresh basil vinaigrette.  This salad packs a fresh punch.  I love serving it as a side dish for a summer picnic or an outdoor barbecue party.  It will be great however you decide to eat it!

Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad

Serves 6 to 8

Salad:

  • 6 ears of corn, shucked
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 red onion, diced

Vinaigrette:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad:

  1. Place a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Brush the corn all over with the canola oil.  Grill the corn for 12 to 15 minutes total, turning occasionally, until the corn is nicely charred on all sides.  Set aside and let cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, cut the corn kernels off of the cob and place in a large bowl.  Add the tomatoes and onion.
Vinaigrette:
  1. Place the basil and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Add the vinegar and olive oil and blend until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

One thing to remember: if you can, try to make this salad one day before you plan to serve it.  The longer you let the flavors mingle and merry together, the better it will taste.

Grilled Peach Salad

The oppressive heat of summer is approaching all too quickly.  Am I the only one that feels like we missed spring altogether?  On the bright side, this warm weather brings with it some benefits, one of them being fresh, juicy peaches.

Peaches are arguably one of my absolute favorite summer fruits.  There is just something about noshing on a peach that is perfectly in season that makes me happy.  The juice runs down your chin, and your fingers feel sticky by the end of the process, but it is well worth it.  When I made my trip to the market this week, I found the most beautiful peaches.  I took one bite out of the fruit and I immediately smiled.  It may have been the best peach I have ever tasted.  I decided to make one of my favorite light summer salads.

Adding fruit to salads is a great way to turn everyday greens into something special.  Grilled peaches, spicy arugula, and tangy lemon vinaigrette are such a perfect combination.  It is amazing how grilling peaches completely transforms the flavor of the fruit.  Not only does it create great grill marks, but it also enhances the peaches’ already sweet flavor.  I like to add crumbled feta cheese and thinly sliced red onion to the salad to give it some texture.

Grilled Peach Salad

Serves 4

  • 4 ripe peaches, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups baby arugula, washed
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
  1. Place a grill pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Brush the peach slices with some of the lemon vinaigrette.  Place the peaches on the grill and cook for about 2 minutes per side, until golden brown.
  3. Place the arugula, feta, onion, and mint in a large serving bowl.  Drizzle with the remaining lemon vinaigrette and toss to coat.  Arrange the grilled peach slices over the salad and serve.

If you don’t like arugula, feel free to use something like baby spinach leaves. You can also experiment with different fruits. I have made this salad with nectarines instead of peaches, and it was fantastic.