This is one of our favorite summer salads. I always buy a few extra ears of corn at the farmers' markets on the weekend, to save for using in this, early in the week. A recent addition, inspired by my test of healthierkitchen's Sesame Noodles with Thai Basil, is the Chinese celery, which provides a richly flavored leaf that works well with the citrus in the dressing and the sweet flavors of the corn and dead-ripe heirloom tomatoes. We can get sugar snaps well into the summer here, so I often blanche and coarsely chop a handful of those as well. If you can't get sugar snaps, use some tender Blue Lake or other, similar string bean, trimmed and snapped. Please take care, though, if you plan to take this out to a picnic, block party or potluck. The acids in the dressing and the juice from the tomatoes can dull the brilliant green of your quickly blanched summer snaps or string beans, so take them separately, to add immediately before serving. Enjoy!! —AntoniaJames
2 or 3 organic Persian cucumbers
2 or 3 ears of sweet corn, not cooked
12 -16 heirloom cherry or grape tomatoes
1 large garlic clove
3 tablespoons fruity extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons lime juice
A few drops of honey
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup sugar snaps or green string beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons finely chopped Chinese (or other very green) celery leaves
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley leaves
2-3 mint leaves, finely chopped (You can also use Thai basil, if you prefer)
Scrub but don’t peel the cucumbers. Dice them into ½ inch cubes. Put in a bowl and sprinkle with a couple pinches of kosher salt, and set aside for at least a half an hour, tossing lightly once or twice during that time.
Peel and, using the back of a fork, partially mash the garlic clove in a small bowl. Pour the olive oil over it and let it sit, to infuse the garlic flavor in the oil.
Remove the corn kernels from the cobs, scraping off as much of the milky substance close to the cob as you can. Put the kernels and all of those tasty juices into the bowl in which you plan to serve the salad.
Cut the tomatoes in half and put them in a bowl with the corn kernels. You can leave them whole if you prefer, but I cut them to allow their tasty juices to flavor the dressing.
If using string beans, snap them in 2 or in thirds, to get nice bite-sized pieces. Put a medium sized pot of water on to boil. Meanwhile, set up a large bowl with iced water in it. Blanche the beans or sugar snaps for about two minutes, or more if you prefer. Drain immediately, then plunge them into the ice water, to stop their cooking. Let them sit there for a few minutes, until the beans are fully cooled, then drain them well.
To make the dressing, put the lemon and lime juice, the zest, honey, mustard, and a pinch of salt. Stir with a fork, or cover and shake, until combined.
When the salted cucumbers have been sitting for 30 minutes, rinse, drain and shake off as much of the rinse water as you can, easily.Add the cukes to the bowl with the corn and tomatoes. Add the chopped herbs.
Pour the olive oil into the jar with the dressing, reserving the garlic for another use. (Or, if you like raw garlic in your salad, finely chop and add it, too.) Put the lid on and shake well, until thoroughly combined.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss it well. Test for salt and pepper.
Let the salad sit for at least ten or fifteen minutes. Toss and test again. If the dressing is too sharp, sprinkle a tiny pinch of sugar over the entire salad and toss well. (The corn should provide a lot of sweetness to the salad, but it takes a few minutes for its sweet flavor to take hold in the dressing.)
Add the sugar snaps or string beans immediately before serving. Toss and test for salt and pepper once again..
When I'm not working (negotiating transactions for internet companies), or outside enjoying the gorgeous surroundings here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'm likely to be cooking, shopping for food, planning my next culinary experiment, or researching, voraciously, whatever interests me. In my kitchen, no matter what I am doing -- and I actually don't mind cleaning up -- I am deeply grateful for having the means to create, share with others and eat great food. Life is very good. ;o)