A bright yellow cookbook landed on my desk the other day, with luscious ears of grilled corn on the cover. “I Love Corn,” by PBS producer Lisa Skye, offers a cornucopia of recipes from chefs across the country, including Dan Barber of Blue Hill restaurant in New York state.
Having grown up in the Philadelphia area, I have always been partial to the pairing of New Jersey corn and tomatoes, which ripen I together n the humid evenings of the Garden State and arrive sweet and fresh at East Coast farm stands in July and August.
Here in California, the markets are already up to their ears in fresh corn. With the heat returning this week, You may want to try this simple salad from chef Jimmy Bradley of The Red Cat in New York City. I would serve this salad on a bed of fresh butter lettuce, for added crunch.
“This is one of those come-home-from -work, make-dinner-fast dishes,” Bradley writes. “The dish lets you focus on each and every ingredient with no distraction, kind of like making a vegetable side dish into a course of its own. The beauty of it is that the fruitiness of the extra-virgin olive oil really shines.”
Warm Jersey Corn Salad
6 small, Yukon gold potatoes, diced (about 5 cups)
1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
6 medium-size ears of fresh corn, kernels removed ( 4 to 5 cups)
5 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Fill a large pot halfway with cold water. Season with salt and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and boil until tender to a knifepoint, about 5 minutes. Drain through a fine-mesh strainer set over another pot. Transfer the potatoes to a large mixing bowl and set aside. Bring the water back to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus and boil until al dente, approximately 2 minutes. Drain and add to the bowl with the potatoes.
Heat a wide, deep-sided, heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the corn in batches, to avoid crowding, and toast until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. As each batch is done, add it to the bowl with the potatoes and asparagus. Add the tomatoes, thyme and oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss, divide among individual plates, and serve warm.