Category Archives: Salads

Grilled Corn, Avocado and Tomato-Sweet Onion Salad with Fresh Basil Dressing and Blue Cheese

My name is Hillary and I am a cooking show addict. I could watch Bobby Flay work his magic all day long if you let me. We recently cancelled our cable, though, so now I’m stuck with actually making his recipes, versus watching him from the couch while thinking, “I should really try that someday …” But hey, we’re saving about $100 a month and television rots your brain anyway, right? Right? (If you can’t tell, I’m still trying to convince myself. I really miss my summer indulgences of Food Network Star and Royal Pains.) “This is good for me, this is good for my children …” Deep breath. Repeat.

130723_roastedcornsalad

This grilled-corn salad is one of my favorite Bobby Flay recipes. My friend, Jen, introduced me to it at a barbecue a few years ago, and I’ve made it several times each summer. We’re growing corn and tomatoes in our garden right now, but neither are quite ready, so I had to hit up the store for the ingredients. I’m really looking forward to making it with what we’ve grown ourselves … just a few more weeks! It’s such a great salad for what a lot of people are growing in their own backyards.

The original recipe calls for grilled corn, but for ease and speed this time, I pan roasted mine in a cast-iron skillet and it worked beautifully. (This also will free up the grill for your main course.) The only other changes I typically make are adding two diced avocados, and roughly chopping, versus thinly slicing the onion. I like small pieces of onion in each bite.

The original recipe also says the salad can be made one day in advance, but I DO NOT agree. In fact, don’t even make it hours in advance. You can do the prep work and blend the dressing, but I really think the main ingredients should be combined only up to 30 minutes before serving — it can get pretty mushy otherwise. And plan on eating everything you make the day of. I thought the mushiness might be due to the avocado, but I’ve had leftovers with and without avocado, and find them to be less than delicious. That said, this salad will rock your face off when it’s freshly prepared.

My favorite kitchen trick for this recipe is to microwave your corn for a few minutes before shucking to loosen the silk. You can watch the full process by viewing this America’s Test Kitchen video. Seriously, do yourself a favor and watch it. You’ll never again shuck corn the old-fashioned way. It is such a great time-saver!!

Grilled Corn, Avocado and Tomato-Sweet Onion Salad with Fresh Basil Dressing and Blue Cheese

(Serves 8 as a side dish)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ears corn, grilled in the husk, kernels removed, or pan roasted
  • 1 sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Walla Walla), roughly chopped
  • 2 Hass avocados, diced
  • 1 pint Sweet 100 tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • Fresh basil sprigs, for garnish

Directions

Combine the vinegar, basil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and oil in a blender and blend until smooth. Dressing can be made two hours in advance and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before using.

Combine the corn kernels, onion and tomato in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat, season with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Fold in diced avocado and crumbled blue cheese, and garnish with basil sprigs just before serving.

Nectarine Caprese Summer Salad

My friends over at Beauties and the Feast have been posting some super delicious recipes for summer salads this month. Emily’s peach caprese, in particular, had my mouth watering within a few seconds of looking at the picture. I decided to make it this past weekend with a very slight twist — nectarines in place of peaches — for a lovely housewarming celebration we attended at our friends’ gorgeous new home in Tacoma.

130715_nectarinecaprese

The boys golfed during the day, and the ladies stayed back with the kiddos, enjoyed cocktails (or mocktails, in my pregnant case), and played in the kitchen. We turned out an awesome spread for dinner — flank steak with a garlicky chimichurri sauce; amazing sweet corn and mushroom tamales with tomatillo-avocado-pumpkin seed salsa (from the Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook); parmesan pea pods; nectarine caprese salad; and tres leches cake for dessert. Two days later and I am still stuffed! My friend Jenny certainly knows how to throw a proper dinner party!

This salad is so easy and fresh, I think it will be gracing our table as frequently as possible while nectarines are in season. Enjoy!

Nectarine Caprese Summer Salad

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe nectarines
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1-inch chunks (I like Trader Joe’s ciliegine whole milk fresh mozzarella)
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

    1. Cut each nectarine into 6 to 8 wedges, then cut each wedge in quarters crosswise.
    2. In a large bowl, combine the nectarines, basil, and mozzarella. Drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and toss. (You can cover and refrigerate the salad for up to several hours.) Serve cold or at room temperature.