Summer Corn Salad with Roasted Potatoes

Summer has officially begun and no other vegetable epitomizes summer like fresh corn. We love the taste of fresh corn from the cob and knew it would make a fine companion to potatoes, asparagus and roasted red peppers. Roasting red peppers over a flame until parts of it are good and charred gives them that camp fire smokiness that screams summer barbecue. This summer veggie melange becomes a beautiful summer dinner salad or side to grilled meats or fish. Just dress it with a little olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, then toss it all with spicy arugula and fresh chopped sweet herbs like dill, basil or tarragon.

Each of the “fresh” veggies in this salad spent some time with heat. The corn and asparagus pieces were blanched and then dropped into an ice bath before serving. The potatoes were boiled, halved and then browned on a stovetop griddle. The peppers were completely cooked, whole, skin on, on an open flame on our gas burning stove until it was black. We then wrapped them in paper towels to steam before we peeled them. Why blanch? It seals in vitamins, brightens color, sweetens and cleanses. It renders fresh veggies crisp/tender to the bite. It also readies them for storage – freezer or canning – and extends their fresh shelf life in the refrigerator. We ate this salad for a couple of days and it retained its great taste and texture.

We served the salad with rotisserie chicken and paired it with a simple Spanish rosé. Instead of salad, the veggies could be combined and warmed together with herbs and served with a fried egg and crunchy toast for a summery weekend brunch.

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Summer Corn Salad with Roasted Potatoes

2 lbs or 1 small bag small potatoes such as yukon gold or red
1 bunch asparagus or green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 ears fresh corn, shucked from the cob
1 red pepper
1 lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 bunch arugula
fresh dill
blue cheese crumbles

In a medium sized pot, fill half way with fresh cold water. Place the pan over medium – high heat until water is boiling. Add a large pinch of salt and place the potatoes in the pot. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, or just until a knife pierces the potato. Remove the potatoes from the water and set aside uncovered to cool.

If you have a gas stove, place the red pepper over a burner and turn the gas on medium heat to roast the pepper. Turn the pepper with a set of tongs to keep the pepper from burning all the way through. Once it is charred on all sides, wrap in a couple paper towels and set aside to loosen the charred skin, 3 minutes or so. Rub the paper towel over the pepper to remove the skin. Remove stem and seeds from the pepper then slice into strips, and dice. Set aside.

Add the asparagus to the potato water and cook for 3-4 minutes, or less depending on the the size of the asparagus. Remove from the pot and place in an ice bath. Set aside until chilled.

Add the shucked corn to the heated water. Heat for 30 seconds then remove and place in an ice bath. Allow to cool.

In the bottom of a large bowl, add the juice from 1 lemon and at least 3 tablespoons good olive oil. Add a 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few good grinds of pepper. Whisk.

Dry the asparagus, add to the bowl with the dressing. Add the peppers and corn. Toss with the dressing and season to taste, adding more lemon juice or olive oil if needed. Set aside.

On the stovetop over medium-high heat, heat up a skillet or pan. Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice in half and add to a medium sized bowl. Toss with a couple tablespoons of olive oil to coat the potatoes. Add the potatoes, cut side down, to the hot skillet or pan. Roast until golden, 4-8 minutes. Once cooked, take off the heat and set aside.

Add the arugula to the corn and asparagus, toss. Plate the salad and top with warmed potatoes, fresh dill sprigs, and a crumble of blue cheese. Serve and enjoy.

Broccoli Rabe and Citrus Salad

If you aren’t eating broccoli rabe, you’re missing out. You’ve likely seen it in the grocery or on restaurant menus. It goes by many names – broccolini, rapini, friarielli – and as it turns out, it isn’t actually broccoli. But it produces little florets that look like broccoli (as nearly all mustard flower clusters do), hence the reference. Unlike its bland cousin, rabe has an intense, sharp, and somewhat bitter taste reminiscent of other dark mustard greens.

We typically pan sauté rabe in olive oil, stems and all, with a pinch of chili flakes and a sliced clove of garlic. It’s delicious served warm with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice or a dash of balsamic vinegar. It works well as a side dish, but we like it just as well featured on pizza or on one of the Tartine-inspired open-face sandwiches we prepare in our awesome Breville toaster oven.

Broccoli rabe’s bold flavors pair nicely with citrus, nutty olive oil and rich Pecorino cheese in this “last-of-the-season” salad. Finished with crunchy sea salt crystals and fresh cracked black pepper, this dish hits all the best taste marks.

Our thanks to veggie grower Andy Boy and recipe creator Julia della Croce for this tasty inspiration.

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Broccoli Rabe and Citrus Salad
Serves 4

1 bunch broccoli rabe, rinsed, ends of stems trimmed
2 blood oranges (we used Caracara oranges)
1 ruby grapefruit
2 ounces shaved manchego or pecorino cheese
Large flake finishing salt (we’re fans of Maldon sea salt flakes)
Good extra virgin olive oil

Blanch cleaned broccoli rabe in salted boiling water for approximately 30 seconds, remove from boiling water and plunge immediately into prepared ice bath. Once cooled, remove rabe from ice water and spin dry in a salad spinner or pat dry between towels. Set aside.

Peel citrus using a knife to remove all external skin and white pith. Slice citrus into quarter inch thick rounds.

Assemble salad by arranging broccoli rabe and citrus slices on a platter. Shave cheese over greens and fruit, drizzle with generous amounts of olive oil, sprinkle sea salt over everything and finish with a few grinds from the pepper grinder. Serve.