I notice at the store that fresh corn is coming in cheap, sweet, and abundant. The temptation is to serve it on the cob, making it an easy add on to any meal. But trimmed from the cob, this backyard favorite becomes a stunning side dish that can stand on its own for any occasion, weekday or holiday.
This Fresh Corn Salad gets its color from the corn, tomatoes, cheese, and chopped fresh basil. The rest is just a simple 3 ingredient dressing of olive oil, white wine vinegar, and seasoning. No need to cook and butter ears of corn at the last minute, when you can serve this salad cold or at room temperature. Because Fresh Corn Salad is easy to make and portable, it’s the perfect picnic dish.
There are lots of variations on this salad. To give you an idea of its popularity, nearly every food blogger has a version, from Paula Deen to Ina Garten (nice video) to David Lebovitz. Some add avocados, replace the green onions with red onions, the Mozzarella with feta or Mexican cotija, or substitute lime juice for the vinegar in the dressing.
Mark Bittman (funky video) at the New York Times sautes the cut kernels in bacon drippings for a few minutes, then adds both the crispy bacon and the flavored corn to the dish. Whichever ingredients you decide to use, the salad is best eaten the day it’s made—which isn’t hard to do.
Corn Cooking Tip: When cooking ears of corn for this salad, or for eating on the cob, try adding a tablespoon of sugar to the water if the corn lacks sweetness. Or add a cup of milk to the cooking water for tenderness.
Fresh Corn Salad
Whisk together the vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a steady stream, to make a smooth dressing.
In large pot of boiling salted water, cook corn for 3 minutes. Drain and immerse in ice water to stop cooking.
Shear off the corn kernels with a sharp knife over a bowl. Toss in the tomatoes, mozzarella and scallions. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat. Cover and let stand for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours. Before serving, tear the basil over the salad and stir. (Adapted from Food Network Kitchen)