Summer in a bowl. That’s what this salad epitomizes. Corn, tomatoes, basil, and a punchy vinaigrette. What more do you need?
I’ve been making this salad for years now. And with good reason. Every summer, my husband and I eagerly look forward to corn and tomato season. We’re lucky in that the South Jersey produce is usually of a stellar caliber in the summer. The tomatoes around here are sweet and juicy, and the corn is some of the best I’ve ever had.
This salad is a wonderful no-cook option. Well, technically, you have to GRILL the corn, but that doesn’t count as full-on cooking. No stove-top burners or ovens have to be turned on. Which is always welcome when the temperature outside is pushing 90 degrees.
Grilling corn is something I just started to do last summer. I know, I know. I’m late to the party. It’s quite possibly the easiest thing you can grill, and I did jump on the bandwagon a tad late. I always used to roast the corn kernels in my oven…this salad is so good that it was worth the extra heat.
That said, I’m so glad I decided to start grilling my corn instead. Grilled corn is, simply put, one of my favorite things about summer. Period. If done right, it stays juicy and sweet while taking on some interesting color and smoky flavor. It’s awesome. You DO have to watch it once it’s on the grill, though. It can go from lightly charred to black and dry before you know it. I speak from experience. I babysit the corn the whole time, rotating them around so that they evenly cook and char on all sides. It probably takes 10-15 minutes total. Worth it!
For this salad, I whisk together an easy but flavorful vinaigrette using red wine vinegar, basil, minced shallot, and olive oil. I add a touch of sugar if I think it needs it and season everything with salt and fresh black pepper. Simplicity at its best! The warm grilled corn gets tossed in the dressing with some sweet cherry tomatoes and additional basil from my backyard (basil is one of the few things I manage to keep alive, and thank goodness for that! I’m obsessed).
The corn and tomatoes are enhanced with the light dressing, and the result is addictive. Sweet, tangy, fresh, healthy…and easy! All the things I look for in summertime “cooking.”
- 6 cups fresh corn kernels (this was about 8 ears of corn for me)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 medium shallot, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar (optional or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat the grill to medium. Remove the husks from your corn and clean off as much of the silk as possible. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on the grill and cook for about 10-15 minutes total, turning the corn every couple minutes to ensure all sides are evenly charred and cooked. Do not walk away! In my experience, the corn goes from grilled/nicely charred to dried out/black in minutes.
- Remove the corn from the grill and allow to cool. Remove the kernels and set aside.
- Combine the basil, shallot, oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large serving bowl. Add the corn and tomatoes; toss to coat. Garnish with additional basil, if needed. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold. This is another salad that gets better the longer it sits. I usually make it at least an hour or so before serving.