Thursday, July 11, 2013

Corn! by Colleen

Summer means corn, and I have a "go to recipe" that I pulled from Sunset Magazine a few years ago for Corn and Tomato Salad.  

So I was flipping through my recipe binder a few days ago and on the flip side of the tear sheet was a recipe for Corn with Pasta Shells and Bacon.  In an attempt to break from my rut, I decided to give it a go when friends came to dinner, violating one of my rules - never make something for the first time for company.  

But it looked dead easy and it was, so you go ahead a make it yourself and enjoy!  Everyone said they loved it last night and there were massive second helpings even though we also had hefty NY strip steaks, and mozzarella and tomatoes.  Here you go.  Get shucking!

   --- Colleen

Corn and Tomato Salad

1/2 cup red onion chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 cups fresh corn kernels
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved if large
1/4 cup basil chiffonade
3 Tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
2-4 ounces fresh Chevre crumbled

Saute the onion (you can also use shallots) in the olive oil until softened. Add the corn and saute for 3-5 minutes until tender to the bite.  Do not overcook.  Add salt and pepper to taste

In a shallow serving bowl, pour the vinegar and add the tomatoes.  

When the corn mixture has cooled a bit, pour it over the top.  

You can refrigerate the salad at this point if you are making ahead.  If not, go ahead and toss the corn/tomatoes with the basil and goat cheese and serve.  

Obviously, the warmer the corn is when you add the cheese, the more it will melt and become creamy.  If you add the goat cheese later when the salad is cooled, the goat cheese will stay intact.  Either is fine - this is good whether served warm or chilled.  Adjust seasonings prior to serving.

Pasta Shells with Corn and Bacon

1 lb box medium pasta shells
4-8 oz bacon (The recipe calls for 4, but I think more bacon is more better)
1/2 cup minced shallots
4 cups fresh corn
Olive oil or butter
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup chopped Tarragon, Basil or Chives (The recipe calls for tarragon, but I don't enjoy the licorice flavor.  So I used chives, but basil would also work very well.)
Salt and pepper to taste

Start a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.  Meanwhile, chop the shallots and your herb of choice.  Cut up the bacon into bite sized pieces, and take the corn off the cob.  

Saute the bacon pieces in a large saute pan for 5-10 minutes until crispy and then remove to a plate covered in paper towel to drain.  There should be bacon fat in your pan.  I poured it into a measuring cup and wiped out the pan as there was some very dark bits that didn't look appealing.  

Pour 3 Tablespoons of fat back into the pan.  If you don't have enough bacon fat, augment with butter or oil to make 3 Tablespoons.  Saute the shallots until soft and then add the corn and saute briefly.  

Then add the wine and the cream and simmer for 5 minutes.

While you are doing this, your pasta water should have come to a boil and you can cook the pasta to the package directions.  

Once the pasta has cooked, drain it and add it to the corn/shallot mixture and toss together. Toss in the bacon and the chopped herbs and adjust seasonings to taste. Serve.

This is probably better served warm, but you could also serve as a cold pasta salad.

I sent photos from my recipe binder.  Don't have my own photos.  Too busy trying to get the meal on the table.  Anyway, happy summer, happy corn.

A friend of mine made the first salad with frozen corn.  Let's just say this is not optimal.  Better to wait for fresh corn.  But if you are craving this dish in wintertime, just be sure to not to overcook the corn.


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