Monday, June 9, 2014

Lemons and Oh, No...The "S" Word

Ahh...wish this was a "scratch & sniff" blog!
I have mentioned my Italian Grandmother several times in Kitchen Clatter but I very rarely mention my Grandfather. It's most likely because they were separated most of my life, so, I didn't see him much and we really didn't have a relationship. But, something I saw him do once, stays with me now, decades later.

You see, I have a clear vision in my head of my Grandfather sitting at the kitchen table on a warm morning with crisp white curtains blowing near by. He was slicing a lemon into wedges, dousing the sections with salt, then popping them in his mouth. Born and raised in Italy, he struggled with the English language, but saw me standing in the doorway and motioned for me to come over. He cut  the fragrant citrus into quarters and handed one to me along with the salt shaker. Ever since, I've been hooked. Lemons and salt are perfect together! There. I used the "S" word that everyone is trying so hard to avoid!

Now of course this was way before we were concerned about our daily sodium intake, but I must admit that even now, I've been known to remove the lemon from the bottom of a Bloody Mary, add a sprinkle of salt, bite down and reflect on that summer morning so many, many years ago.

In my family, I've always been known for my Italian salad dressing, not sure why, it's simple enough. But whenever there is a family gathering, I'm asked to make the dressing, which is 1/4 cup of oil, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper. The one thing I will do that may be different from most homemade dressings is, before I add a tomato into the salad, I squeeze the juice into the dressing and then whisk. Now, when I am making a salad just for myself, I eliminate the vinegar completely and use the juice from half a lemon and add a little garlic salt to the extra virgin olive oil. Perfect!

That being said, I found a recipe for a salad last year that I simply fell in love with. It also uses olive oil and the acid from a lemon instead of vinegar. And with corn and tomatoes coming into season, this is a must try, good to the last bite salad that, if there should be leftovers, keeps well for a few days!

It's only mid-June and I've already made this three times!

Best way to remove corn from cob is using a Bundt style pan!
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

(Optional: If you have a favorite dry BBQ seasoning, add a teaspoon in dressing, really adds zest!)

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 and pepper to taste

Toss the salad with the dressing and serve at room temperature. (Since room temperature is key to fully tasting all of the ingredients, I do not add the arugula until I am almost ready to serve). 

So go ahead and make this salad! See if you don't agree that this is the sweetest, crispiest, lemony (not sure that's a word, but we'll go with it) salad you've ever tasted! With Jersey corn and tomatoes, and no refrigeration needed, this would be a perfect Fourth of July addition to the menu!

Crisp corn, sweet tomatoes, salty lemons! It's all there!

No comments:

Post a Comment