One of our local markets has the best, freshest corn all summer long and it seems that I just can't help myself ............. every time I run in for a " little of this" or "one of those", I end up running out with a big bag, poking out here there and everywhere, filled with sweet, pale green, elongated ears of summer deliciousness.
For many years, I was in the habit of husking the corn right there at the market - I love that they provide a big bin for that very purpose. But it would take me forever to peel back the leaves, pull off the husks and try to remove every last little bit of silk (I can't stand the little fine strings in my corn).
But last summer I discovered an amazing trick; a way to lightly steam, husk and de-silk the corn, all at the same time .......... in just minutes (see the link in the recipe below)! I utilize this method all the time now and the corn stays fresh longer since I'm not removing the protective husk before it even gets home. I still try to use the corn ASAP as, the-fresher-the-sweeter-rule certainly applies to corn.
So, here I was again, sitting in my kitchen with another big bag of corn. I've incorporated the sweet delicious kernels in all sorts of recipes already this summer, like this Fresh Corn Bisque (so stinkin good! ) and this Fresh Corn, Zucchini and Bell Pepper Crustless Quiche . Oh and then there's this Pineapple, Avocado and Fresh Corn Salsa (could eat this three time a day!) and a favorite here at The Café, this super healthy, super delicious Fresh Corn and Avocado Quinoa Salad .......... but it was time to come up with something new.
Hmmmmm .......... looking at a big bowl of summer tomatoes sitting on the counter, I said to myself, "that's it"! I knew there was a ridiculously bountiful supply of fresh basil growing out in the deck herb garden and the thinking about the combination was all it took to get my culinary wheels a-whirring.
It's really not summer here until we've had our fill of Caprese. Caprese is quite classic and combines juicy garden tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and basil, lots of fresh basil - creating a quintessential "taste of summer". Sometime I layer the ingredients on skewers for a fun a unique Caprese appetizer. I've also stuffed slices of fresh mozzarella into large, still-warm-from-the-summer-sun tomatoes for a really amazing presentation. This one's not a salad but we really enjoy this delightful Italian Style Caprese Chicken.
I made a composed salad this time with rows of the Italian flag colored components lined up in neat little rows. I didn't change the old family recipe much, just added a row of my sweet tender corn along with the traditional ingredients. A scatter of sea salt and freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and sweet, syrupy, reduced balsamic vinegar was all it took to make a delightful summer lunch ..........
Don't let the summer pass by with making this wonderful Caprese Salad with Fresh Corn -you'll be so happy with yourself, I promise!
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- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 6 ears unshucked fresh corn
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 ½ cups fresh mozzarella balls bocconcini, drained and halved or quartered
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves sliced, if leaves are large
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Place balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil then reduce to a steady simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until vinegar is syrupy and reduced to ½ of it's volume. Set aside to cool.
With a sharp knife, cut any long tails off of the stem end of the corn. Place 3 ears of unshucked corn in the microwave and cook on high power for 4 minutes. Carefully remove corn from microwave with a hot pad and set aside for several minutes, until cool enough to handle.
Cut about 2 inches off of the stem end of the corn ear. Holding the corn upright by the silk end, gently shake and squeeze at the same time, until the ear of corn is released. The corn should be quite clean with very little silk remaining. It will also be lightly steamed. Here's a video demonstrating the microwave corn shucking/cooking technique.
With a sharp knife, cut kernels from cobs and set aside.
On a large platter or individual serving plates arrange rows of basil, tomatoes, mozzarella and corn. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Just before serving, drizzle lightly with the balsamic reduction and toss. You can also serve without the balsamic reduction added and pass a small cruet or pitcher at the table.