Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A catch twenty-two

It’s finally here. What I mean, of course, is that iconic summer heat wave that Connecticut is blessed with every summer, the one that literally melts anything and everything in sight. It has arrived, and it's dreadful.

I thought maybe with all of the rain this year it might now show its face, but I was wrong. Like a dreaded yearly visit from that intolerable relative, it showed up, once again, and it’s stayed for two days already. And I don’t know if it has a long trip back or it’s just lazy or what, but it has invited itself to stay through tomorrow. The nerve. I also don’t know what I’m going to do about cooking until it leaves.

This time of the year is tricky – there are only so many salads and cold soups you can make before you yearn for the stove, or anything cooked, really. On the other hand, it’s so hot your fingers sweat while you eat. It’s a catch twenty-two, I suppose, and I can’t wait until it’s over.

Lucky for us, the same season that punishes us with weather so hot the only comfortable thing to do is stand in the middle of a room, straddling a fan, Marilyn-style, also brings us incomparably fresh produce. So fresh, in fact, that cooking isn’t all that necessary. Come to think of it, we should probably be thankful that this stove-forbidding weather doesn’t come in the winter; there’s not a lot one can do with an abundance of raw potatoes and parsnips.

So, last night for dinner I made a quick and easy corn and tomato salad, and while I did use the stove for just a few minutes, I put my cutting board at a safe distance and armed myself with a big glass of ice water throughout the process. I was sweating by the end, I will admit, but it was worth it. And when doing anything these days will make you sweat, especially this hot computer sitting on my lap, I figured there wasn’t really an excuse not to.

Corn and Tomato Salad

2 ears worth of corn kernels
2 big, just ripe tomoatoes
½ small red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Goat cheese
Good quality olive oil
Fleur de Sel, or Real Salt

Bacon would be a really nice addition to this (unless, of course, you’re a vegetarian), I didn’t have any, so I didn’t use it, but if you do, just cook the bacon in your skillet first, then use its rendered fat to cook everything else in. Yum.

In a medium-hot skillet with olive oil, cook garlic for about 30 seconds to flavor the oil, then add in the red onion. Cook until just translucent, and then add in the corn, stirring every now and then, until it’s sufficiently pan-roasted. (This should take about 5 minutes or less – just taste it to make sure; when it’s just the slightest bit still crunchy, it’s done.)

Set this mixture aside to cool; taking it out of the skillet and onto a cold plate helps. Slice tomatoes into big, thick rounds – I like to leave them whole, but if you’d prefer to roughly chop them, that works too. When the corn mixture has cooled off, scatter it on top of the tomatoes. Finish with just a sprinkling of crumbled goat cheese.


Lauri said...

Nice photos...what a nice camera you must have!! Those corn kernels draped in corn silk never looked so elegant! This recipe sounds like the perfect light summer salad no matter what the weather!

Anonymous said...

K: Summer is why the good Lord created grills. Heat it up, shuck the corn, slather with evoo and sea salt and toss it on, turning each ear as it just begins to sear - caramelized corn on the cob - cooked outside!!!!!