Wednesday, June 8, 2011

OMG--Can I have the recipe?

We all have those moments.   You're sitting at the time-honored neighborhood cook-out; the food gets passed, and out of decades of trained politeness you dutifully take the requisite spoonful of X that makes its way around the table.  You pour some more wine, and listen and laugh to the conversation.  It's mindless eating because you're enjoying the company, and let's face it, it's just burgers and hot-dogs.  At some point, however, as your fork makes its way around your plate, you stop.  Something tastes absolutely phenomenal.   What is it? 

At this point the conversation fades as your fork backtracks and rewinds.  Was it the salad?  No.  How about the green beans?   For God sake--you brought those; no.  The burger?  It's a great burger; what open-flamed, hand molded, quarter pounder smothered in real cheddar cheese isn't?   But no, it's not the burger.  This was different.  It tasted a little unusual, yet at the same time you felt like you felt like you were coming home to something soothingly familiar.  Slowly, finally, you identify the culinary culprit.  

I'm really not a food snob, but I don't often have these moments.  It's probably because I love to eat so much, and have pretty much eaten EVERYTHING, that I'm just not frequently surprised anymore.  But when it happens, I'm pretty much transfixed.  Somehow the gluttony button gets pushed and I find myself going back not just for seconds, but for thirds, and dare I say it?  Fourths.  It doesn't matter now that I'm full.  This stuff tastes good and I'm no longer feeding my hunger, I'm feeding my tastebuds.  I'm trying desperately to reverse engineer the recipe, and just one more tablespoon might just lead me to the promised land.  I have no idea anymore what my dinner companions are talking about. I just have to figure out what is in this stuff.  Ultimately, I give up, interrupt the banter, and proclaim:  "Oh my God--this is amazing.  Can I have the recipe?"

And because you are reading this blog, now you have it too. 

Corn and Tomato Salad  (Really.  Corn and tomatoes--I kid you not.)

1.  Heat 2 T of olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet.  Add 1 Tbsp of finely chopped garlic.  (No wonder I felt like I was coming home:  garlic).

2.   Add 3 cups of fresh corn kernels (about 6 ears), and saute for about 5 minutes until the kernels are just tender.  If you absolutely have to, you can use 10 ounces of frozen corn, but the fresh corn, cut right off the cob, is a difference you can taste.

3.  Once the corn mixture has slightly cooled, move it to a large mixing bowl and add 1/2 cup packed, thinly cut, fresh basil.  Use scissors to cut basil and most other herbs.  For some reason, herbs don't bruise quite as much with scissors.

4.  Add 5 cups of fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped. 

5.  Season with 3 Tbsp of high-quality balsmic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. 

6.  Cover and chill 3-8 hours.

Best of all, there's almost nothing in it that's fattening--a critical factor if you happen, like I did, to go back for fourths.


  1. See? This is why I can never be a chef. People like you cut corn off the cob in order to make a fantastic salad. Once the corn gets cooked, it's not getting past me, not to be cut off the cob, not to be mixed with yummies, not for anything. I am eating that corn. This sounds yummy, and I hope you have leftovers for the wonderful neighbors when you make it. Just be sure I don't see that corn a-cookin' first!

  2. "I love this salad," my daughter Laura said. "This is amazing."
    My son Jack said we should have it more often. My husband and I agree.