Sunday, July 14, 2013

Backyard Garden Treasures...And Tomato Corn Salad!

I left a little dirt on so you could appreciate the freshness!
Yesterday, a mere week after the 4th of July, I picked the first tomatoes from my garden. An unusual amount of rain in June (and now July), has caused everything to ripen fast! Filling my basket with plump, deep red tomatoes and dark green bell peppers, transported me back to a time last summer when my sister Betty and I gathered in my niece Beth's Florida kitchen searching the internet for I recipe I had seen prepared by the Neelys' on The Food Network only weeks before.

When first watching it, my interest was peaked by two things; the mixture of fresh tomatoes and grilled corn, and my favorite, absolute favorite salad dressing of fresh lemons and extra virgin olive oil! I have been making this dressing since I was a very young girl at the apron strings of my grandmother who always used lemons in her salad dressing. Way before the health benefits of using olive oil was touted, she knew that using lemons with this pungent oil, in place of vinegar, would give an amazing freshness to any salad.

And since for me, so many tomatoes are ripe at one time, I plan on going to the farm market later for some fresh Jersey corn. And as three salad loving women did in Florida last summer, I will add a bowl of cold seasoned shrimp and call it a great summer meal! Try it!

6 ears fresh corn, husked with silks removed
2 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and pepper
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
4 scallions, finely chopped
2 cups packed arugula

Lemon Dressing:
1 lemon, juiced
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat grill or broiler to medium heat. Rub corn with 2 tablespoons of canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill or broil corn for 7 minutes or until ears are lightly browned. Remove from grill and allow to cool. Remove the kernels from the cob and place in a large mixing bowl along with the cherry tomatoes, red pepper, scallions, and arugula. In a small bowl, prepare dressing by whisking together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper. Mix together and (very important) serve at room temperature! Grilling the corn makes it super sweet! And along with just picked tomatoes, this recipe has become an absolute summer favorite

Another quick tomato salad favorite:

In an effort to save money and calories, I have taken to packing my lunch for the office. But instead of chips, along with a sandwich on whole wheat bread, I chop a tomato into a small container, slice up one large green olive, add a pinch of crumbled goat cheese, and drizzle with oil olive, salt and pepper. By lunch time, the small addition of salt pulls the juice from the tomato and marinates the olive and goat cheese. It is amazing and so much healthier than half a bag of potato chips!

Everyone has their favorite summer tomato salad recipe. So take a minute and send me yours! I am waiting and willing to try almost anything!

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