Corn and Tomato Caprese
It seems that I can’t get through a summer without some kind of corn and tomato combination. This one wasn’t even on my radar. I’d been mulling over the idea of some kind of stone variation on Caprese, maybe with peaches, maybe not. I’d gone so far as to buy a tub of fresh mozzarella that had been silently mocking me in the fridge. Last Saturday we headed to the farmer’s market and I fully intended to get peaches for a stab at that salad. And we bought peaches, along with a few pounds of lovely tomatoes, several ears of corn, and an incredibly fragrant bunch of basil. The peaches ended up in a pie, while the corn and tomatoes ended up in a Caprese salad at the end of the day.
It was a long day of eating. We devoured half a chicken at the farmer’s market mid-morning and snacked on fruit as we walked around. Mid-afternoon we met up with a friend and walked to a spicy food festival happening a few blocks away, where we stuffed ourselves with wings and soba noodles and nachos doused in various hot sauces, mostly sriracha.
The afternoon was capped off with the hottest dish of the day – an unbearably spicy frozen custard sundae. It was topped with a painfully spicy hot sauce that melted into everything as we walked back to the apartment. Two bites were all I could manage and even with three of us attempting to eat it, half the sundae ended up in the trash. The rest of the afternoon was spent sprawled on the couch in an attempt to digest.
This salad was born out of a need to have something for light for dinner since we didn’t even start to feel hungry until just after 8 pm. Some of the basil from the market was blended into pesto, corn was boiled and then cut off the cob, tomatoes and mozzarella were sliced and dressed. I served it on greens to soak up the combination of dressing, tomato juice, and pesto that would otherwise have pooled at the bottom of the dish, although if we’d had a loaf of bread in the house, I might have used that instead. The point is not to let any of that juicy, summery goodness go to waste. Soak it up.
Corn and Tomato Caprese
- 2 ears corn husked and broken in half
- 1-2 tbs kosher salt
- 2 to matoes cut into ¼ inch slices
- 2 tbs pesto
- Lettuce optional
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella cut into ¼ inch slices
- Olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste
- Flaky sea salt
- ¼ cup basil leaves
BOIL a pot of water big enough to hold all the corn and salt it well. Add the corn to the boiling water and let it cook for 10 minutes, rolling the corn around occasionally so that it cooks evenly. Besides looking for a deeper yellow on the kernels, you can tell if corn is cooked if it squirts a little when you pierce a kernel with your fingernail. Once it's done, pull the ears out of the water and let them cool a little.
CUT the kernels off the cob - this is where it helps to have half cobs rather than whole ones. The best way to avoid mess is to not cut the kernels so close to the cob; when the knife catches on the cob that's when kernels spray everywhere. Instead, I just follow up with a second cut if I think I've left too much corn behind.
TOSS corn with pesto until well combined, and set it aside.
ARRANGE the lettuce (if using), tomato, and mozzarella slices on a platter. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar and sprinkle with sea salt to your taste.
POUR the dressed corn over the salad and garnish with basil leaves.
This is best served immediately but I had no problem eating the leftovers the next day. I like the mozzarella and tomato at room temperature and the corn a bit warm, but if it's really hot out I could see serving everything cold to make it extra refreshing. It's just salad.