Earlier this year, I joined Harvest Co-Op, a food co-op out of Beaver Falls, PA. Membership not only got me access to responsibly raised meats; local dairy products; and local, independent retailers for pantry items; it also opened my eyes (and my kitchen) to an amazing bounty of locally grown fruits and vegetables.
I had always shopped at farmers markets in the summer, and I still do, but this year I’ve also fallen in love with Harvest’s “market baskets.” Similar to a CSA, when you order a market basket, you’re guaranteed the freshest produce available at the time, but you have no idea exactly what it will be until you receive the basket.
My favorite thing about these baskets is the challenge they throw at me. Like a reality cooking show along the lines of Iron Chef or Chopped, the baskets taunt me to use their contents creatively and efficiently. And then, of course, there is the huge sense of accomplishment I feel when I can create complete dishes or even, on occasion, entire meals, mostly from the produce in the basket.
One of the only things I could count on my basket containing every week since July was half a dozen ears of corn. Sure, I did the traditional boiled, buttered, and salted corn-on-the-cob thing, and even switched it up a few times by grilling the corn instead of boiling it. But even summer’s quintessential side dish can get a little boring when you eat it for a month or so. To add a little variety, I whipped up this simple salad using only the produce from my basket. It’s a delicious taste of summer that complements any grilled meat or fish at your end-of-season barbecues.
Corn and Tomato Salad
3-4 ears corn
2-3 medium tomatoes
1 green onion
Extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste
Boil corn until crisp-tender; remove from water and cool on a towel. When cool enough to handle, cut corn off cobs and place kernels into a medium bowl. Seed and dice tomatoes and toss with corn in the bowl. Slice the onion on the bias, using white and light green parts, and add to the bowl. Drizzle in olive oil to coat (about 2 tablespoons or whatever your preference) and add a splash of balsamic vinegar for sweetness (but don’t add too much or the salad will turn brown as it sits). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
If you have fresh herbs on hand (basil, parsley, etc.), feel free to add them, but the salad is equally good without them.