Sometimes I need to shake things up. I need to make things differently. I need to fix things that don’t actually need fixing.
That’s how I got to this corn and tomato salad. It was inspired by one of my favorite recipes, one I’ve been making since Gourmet published the recipe in August of 2009.
The original recipe is for a tomato and corn pie that is pretty amazing. I didn’t expect it to be so good but between the baked, pizza-like tomatoes, the herbs, the biscuit crust; it’s a thing of beauty. Only I didn’t want to make pie. I just wanted the filling. So I needed to figure out how to get the filling without having to bake a pie.
The real star of the pie is the baked tomatoes but when it comes to salad, you need a good base to work with. So for this recipe, corn makes up the foundation with tomatoes as the flavor. It’s a shift from the pie, but it’s a positive one.
To keep the original flavor of the baked tomatoes, I roasted little halved cherries. The roasting makes them sweeter and less acidic, more pizza-tomatoey.
The flavors of the pie are all there –the thyme, the corn and tomatoes – plus a vinegar-and-mayo dressing to bind everything together.
I’m not saying this salad will replace the pie; it’s a different (although reminiscent) beast that fills a different need. But I will say that I have yet to make that pie this summer. No one’s complaining.
Tomato and Corn Salad
Inspired by Tomato and Corn Pie by Gourmet
3-4 ears corn, peeled and de-silked*
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbs chopped fresh thyme
¼ cup grated parmesan
3 tbs red wine vinegar
¼ cup mayo
3 tbs kosher salt + more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Turn on your oven’s broiler or preheat to 475F.
Bring a few quarts of salted water (1 tbs per quart) to boil in a large pot. Once the water is boiling, add the corn and boil for 3-4 minutes. Remove the ears and let them cool. Then cut the kernels off the ears as neatly as you can and put them in a serving bowl large enough to toss in.**
Line a baking sheet with foil*** and lay out the halved tomatoes, cut sides up. Sprinkle with up to 1 tbs of kosher salt and broil for 10-15 minutes. The tomatoes should be slightly shriveled at the edges and juicy.
Carefully scrape the tomatoes and their juice (don’t lose the juice!) into the bowl with the corn kernels. Let the tomatoes and corn cool completely.
Add the thyme and parmesan to the bowl with the corn/tomato mixture. Stir the mayo and red wine together with a fork until evenly incorporated. It may look a bit strange while you’re mixing but it will turn out ok after a few more stirs. Add the mixture to the salad and toss well.
Season with salt and pepper (keep in mind that the tomato juice has salt in it already). Let the salad sit for a few hours before serving so that the flavors can really ‘get to know one another.’ Serve it room temperature or cold. It will last for about a week in the fridge.
* Looking at the pictures, it appears that the there is more corn and fewer tomatoes than the recipe calls for. That is true but having eaten the first batch I thought the only way to improve the recipe is with a more even tomato-corn ratio. This is that recipe.
** One thing that makes it easier to keep the kernels from flying everywhere is not trying to cut too close to the cob. The place where the kernels meet the cob is kind of tough. It you cut too deep you will inevitably catch your knife on this part and send kernels pinging around your kitchen. I prefer to make two passes on the cob – cutting down the length twice – to get as much kernel as possible without making a mess.
*** Yes, foil is reactive with tomatoes but it’s such a short period of time that it doesn’t bother me. If it concerns you, substitute parchment paper for the foil.