Sometimes you can’t mess with perfection.
This is one of those times.
I love when something so fresh, so simple renders you unable to utter anything except the usual pleasurable moans of tasty contentment. If I told you that your first bite of this salad would drop you to your knees, I would only be slightly exaggerating.
I’ve made this corn salad numerous times, and it never goes untouched at a barbecue or potluck. It gets rave reviews followed by recipe requests each and every time. People, this salad is memorable. From here on out, this will be the salad that you will be asked to bring to every party. You’ve been warned.
This recipe comes from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessta Cookbook, and I haven’t changed a thing. Like I said, it’s perfection.
You will need fresh corn on the cob for this recipe, about 5 to 7 ears depending on their size. Some of my ears of corn were on the small side, so I used 7 ears. As the season peaks and the ears are larger, you will do well with 5 or at the most 6.
Shuck the corn. I usually have my kids do this for me. I put them outside on the grass with a paper bag and let them go at it.
Bring a large pot of water up to a boil. Add salt and corn. You’re only blanching the corn for 3 minutes to remove the starchiness. Don’t walk away.
Have a bowl of iced water ready because once the 3 minutes is up, you’re going to submerge the ears of corn into the water and shock it. Stops the cooking process, sets the color and preserves the crispy, fresh and sweet bite to each kernel of corn. Just wait…you will see how this process works to your advantage. People will seek you out in order to discover how you made this salad.
Once the corn has cooled, and that won’t take long, begin to remove the kernels from the cob. I use the-inverted-small-bowl-inside-the-larger-bowl-method to catch all the sweet milk that naturally comes out when you cut the corn from the cob. You could also position the corn on top of the tube portion of a bundt pan.
Into a large bowl, add olive oil, cider vinegar, salt, pepper and red onion.
Add the corn and toss together. Once everything is mixed, you can refrigerate or serve at room temperature.
Every kernel pops in your mouth with it’s sweetness.
Add the chiffonade of basil at the last minute, right before you’re ready to serve. Be ready for compliments!
Fresh Corn Salad
5 ears fresh corn, shucked
1/2 cup red onion, finely diced (1 small onion)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chiffonade fresh basil leaves
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 3 minutes until the starchiness is just gone. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and 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.
Don’t substitute frozen corn; it doesn’t have the texture or flavor you want in a fresh salad.
I just realized that I didn’t show how to chiffonade basil. If you’ve never done this before, it’s fairly simple. Take all of the fresh basil leaves and stack them on top of each other. Then roll them up like a cigar, hold firmly and slice with a sharp knife creating thin ribbons of basil that will be sprinkled over the top of the corn salad.