Being a Jersey girl, this salad showcases two of my favorite local ingredients, corn and tomatoes. This salad is best at the peak of summer when corn is most sweet, fresh, and juicy. Its light, crisp flavor makes a delicious side dish when served with grilled meats, or it can also stand alone as a light lunch. —Jen Balletto
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Jen Balleto is a Food52er from New Jersey who loves to cook with her local ingredients.
WHAT: A hearty, bright salad that boasts the best of the season.
HOW: Charred corn is combined with barley, beans, tomatoes, and herbs, then tossed with a tomato vinaigrette.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This salad would make a fantastic brown bag lunch or a picnic side dish; it holds together beautifully. We love how the tomato is grated in order to make the vinaigrette -- since the size of the tomato isn't specified, use one to taste. —The Editors
Boil barley according to package directions, using a large stock pot. Par boil corn for 5-6 minutes with the barley to impart some of the corn flavor directly into the barley.
Remove corn. Brush corn with olive oil and grill on all sides until charred gill marks appear.
Meanwhile, halve all of the tomatoes and prep beans (rinse and drain if using canned, prepare in advance if using dried).
Cut kernels off the corn. Merrill was kind enough to share a video on the subject http://www.food52.com/blog/2259_how_to_dekernel_corn. As you cut, collect any of the “milk” that comes from the cutting process, then use the back of the knife to scrape the remaining “milk” from the cleaned cob. The juicier your corn, the better!
Next, cut the large tomato in half and grate with a box grater over a dish or wide bowl, discarding the skins, but collecting the juice and pulp.
Paste the garlic clove by mincing the garlic, and then adding some salt and rubbing the mixture between your cutting board and the side of your chef’s knife. Add that paste into the tomato mixture. Add a pinch of salt, crushed red pepper to taste, vinegar, and corn milk. Always crush dried herbs in the palm of your hand before adding to release the oils…releasing oils = releasing flavor! Whisk in olive oil slowly. Your goal here is to create an emulsion. This should yield at least a ½ c. of vinaigrette. If you plan on making ahead, make ¼ c. of extra vinaigrette to freshen before serving. Reserve your vinaigrette.
Combine barley, tomatoes, corn, beans and fresh herbs in a large bowl and dress with your tomato vinaigrette. Toss to combine.
Finish with a drizzle of your best fruity, delicious, olive oil.