Editor's note: Ladies and gents, it's time to introduce you to a new voice here at Serious Eats. Meet Kristen Swensson, the proprietor of the blog Cheap, Healthy Good. We loved what she was doing there and asked her to work her magic here once a week. She'll be by on Mondays with an inexpensive, healthy recipe for you. Enjoy!
Being from northwest Ohio, my boyfriend loves sweet corn like most people love their mothers. His small town was situated in the middle of a cornfield, and his family ate corn with almost every summer meal. If I'm not mistaken, his elementary school was also built entirely of cornhusks, and every year, Santa Corn brought him Corn Patch Kids and Trans-corn-ers for Christmas.
I can't quite match his affection for the vegetable, but I try to serve it whenever possible. Lately, my favorite way to do that has been in Fresh Corn Salad from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Sweet and crisp, it's a stellar side dish for sandwiches, grilled meats, and other summer fare. Plus, it only costs around $2, and that's never a bad thing.
I do make two big changes to Ina's recipe, though: I halve the olive oil and vinegar and reduce the corn by 20 percent. This lightens the dish considerably (to about 75 calories per serving) while still maintaining a good dressing-to-corn ratio. In other words, the fat is cut, but not the flavor.
Though Ina claims the salad can be served immediately, I prefer letting it sit in the fridge overnight. After a few hours, the boyfriend can't keep out of it. And if I haven't mentioned, the man knows his corn.
- 4 ears of corn, shucked
- 1/2 cup small-diced red onion
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 3 to 5 minutes until the starchiness is just gone. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and to set the color. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob.
Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.