I love summer for many reasons, but the #1 reason is the fresh, gorgeous, vibrant foods that define the season. Market Fresh Corn Salad with corn cut fresh off the cob and just-picked, homegrown cherry tomatoes, is a bowl of edible summer.
I believe, in my heart, the good Lord created air-conditioning (for me) and I thank Him every time temperatures rise above 70 degrees. Heat and I just don’t get along. After all, short sleeves and knee-length shorts are as unclothed as I’m willing to get in public. Growing up in a home with no air conditioning, I lived the hot & humid, dog days of Missouri summers. There were many nights, the heat was so stifling, it was impossible to sleep even with all windows in the house wide open and an industrial-strength fan blowing (hot) air across the room. Many evenings, sleeping on the screened-in porch was the only way to find mild relief. But, upon reflection, I guess I should never complain about the summer heat of my youth. My family and I found ways to keep cool, and these activities resulted in some of the best memories of my childhood.
Summer heat allowed me the freedom to run barefoot, fish for crawdads in the creek, spend hours in the woods behind my home, and to leap over the water sprinkler while it made rainbow-shaped arches in the yard. I sprayed my sisters with the water hose and read “Beautiful Joe” in the hammock under the centuries-old oak in our backyard. I rode in the car with windows down and red hair flying. I played neighborhood games like hide ‘n seek and kick-the-can way after the sun went down. Summers brought softball, days spent at the city swimming pool and excursions to the drive-in movie theater (scary movies are the scariest when viewed outside, in the dark, surrounded by a parking lot full of strangers).
My childhood summers came hand-in-hand with the best food on the planet. During the long hot days of summer, I drank root beer from frozen mugs and chugged mom’s iced tea and fresh lemonade. I took my turn sitting on the ice & salt-packed ice cream freezer while my dad turned the crank (no other homemade ice cream has or ever will taste as good). I gobbled just-picked, plump strawberries & peaches picked from fruit-laden branches. I ate corn-on-the-cob, fresh green beans, hamburgers & hot dogs off the grill and juice-splashing, bright red watermelon. One of my favorite treats was, and is, just-plucked, sweet-as-candy cherry tomatoes eaten straight from the vine.
I have decided to amend my previous statement about my relationship with heat. Instead of a love/hate relationship, I now claim it as a love/love relationship. I love the food, and I love the fun-filled days of summer (as long as my air conditioner doesn’t quit).
Market Fresh Corn Salad
- 4 ears fresh sweet corn-on-the-cob, husks and silks removed
- 1½ cups cherry tomatoes yellow & red, halved
- ½ red onion thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1- teaspoon honey or agave nectar
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½-1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½-1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Opt. ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese
- Fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish
- Bring large pot of water to boil. Add corn, cove, remove from heat and let corn steep for 2 minutes. Remove from water, and cut corn off cobs.
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until well combined.
- For best flavor, cover dish and place in the refrigerator to allow flavors to meld.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle fresh herbs on top.