Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Speaking of breakfast for dinner; or, corn salad and its discontents.

I've had more corn this summer, for some reason, than in summers past. Well, actually, I know the reason--I bought some, then we got some from the farmers. Anyway, it's been a bumper year for corn around these parts, which has necessitated The Great Corn Strategy of 2009, also known as: Corn Salad.

This, in case you're wondering, is basically fresh corn relish, but consumed in saladly quantities rather than in dainty relishy dollops. Scoops of it. And here's how it goes:
  1. You take your corn. You take your rapidly boiling water. You shuck your corn in view of the rapidly boiling water. When it is shucked, casually or meticulously, take your pick, baptize the corn in the boiling water. But briefly. Corn does not need to be cooked very long.
  2. Remove the ears from the water. Let them cool for a minute or ten. Then take a big, sharp knife, and shave the ears closely. Put the corn in a bowl worthy of it.
Let's pause here, shall we? Because after this is where things get optional. For instance:
  • dressing
  • adornments
  • frippery
  • dicing and mincing
  • seasoning
I have made several corn salads this summer, and this may be un-American, but all of them were not created equal. I am not going to disrespect any of these salads. But I knew--some of them had room for improvement. Some of them had many little diced and minced items, to wit: celery, green onion, peppers of various kinds, tomatoes. Some of them had fewer items in the diced/minced category, and sometimes the balance was darn good and sometimes it fell short of the glory of the Lord. All of them I dressed with olive oil and sherry vinegar. In the frippery category, your herbs. In my opinion, the herb balance is tricky to achieve: parsley, no doubt, but what is the prevailing view of mint? in this context, is it going too far? &c & c.

However, I made the best corn salad that ever was for my writing group this weekend, and I am going to share this goodness with you, the people:
  1. Chop goodly, and roughly equal, portions of the following herbs: parsley, basil, mint, and cilantro. Chop it hard. Chop it like there's no tomorrow. Chop it just short of it becoming a green pulp. Put that herbal madness in there, in the worthy bowl, with the corn.
  2. Chop up some green onions. Chop up a clove of garlic. Add it to the splendor.
  3. Chop up a medium hot pepper--a jalapeno, for instance. You can have half a pepper, or you can have a whole pepper. You choose--I don't know your life.
  4. Dress with olive oil and sherry vinegar. I know there are some of you who feel that balsamic is the be-all and end-all of vinegar. But in this case, I say, back the hell off with that balsamic. It is too powerful for this salad.
  5. Salt. Pepper. Stir.
And that, my friends, made the perfect corn salad: herbal, perfectly balanced, fresh tasting and full of the goodness of American corn.

Now: there was some left over from the writing group, so tonight, I made omelets with this delicious salad inside them. We had some chopped tomatoes on top, and some hashed browns to go with. This dinner was good, with a side of virtuous, because: using up the leftovers.


  1. I would venture to say this might be the greatest piece of writing on corn salad in the world. Hilarious and helpful. (backing slowly away from the corn salad with balsamic in my hand)

  2. I've never heard of the word frippery. I vow to use it at least once today.

    I truly enjoyed reading this last night. Enough that I had to come back and read again this morning. :-D

  3. Where are the discontents?

    Obviously none are around with you to cook so cleverly. This was delightful!

  4. Your posts are killing my diet. I mean my new way of life. First it was the pancakes. Now corn? Yes, definitely corn.



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