Jim Dixon wrote about food for WW for more than 20 years, but these days most of his time is spent at his olive oil-focused specialty food business Wellspent Market. Jim’s always loved to eat, and he encourages his customers to cook by sending them recipes every week through his newsletter. We’re happy to have him back creating some special dishes just for WW readers.
Traditional culinary wisdom tells us “if it grows together, it goes together.”
The Italians make vignarola—a verdant stew—in spring with the first favas, asparagus and artichokes. Rhubarb and strawberry harvests coincide for the makings of a great pie. Peak summer peppers, tomatoes and eggplant work together in endless combinations, from French ratatouille to escalivada in Spain. And during the August heat, when local corn appears in the market, Oregon tomatoes are at their best, and putting them together makes for good eating.
Most of the fresh corn sold these days are what are called super-sweet varieties, with less starch and more sugar than older cultivars. While an “all corn is GMO” meme pops up regularly, super sweets come from traditional plant breeding and hybridization, not genetic manipulation.
The lower starch content means you don’t have to run from the field to the kitchen anymore; super-sweet corn can actually sit around for a few days and still be delicious. But, as with most produce, fresher is better, so drive out to Sauvie Island or hit the farmers market for the best version to add to this simple salad.
Fresh Corn and Tomatoes with Feta
3 ears fresh corn
1 pint cherry tomatoes
Handful of flat leaf parsley, mint, or both
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces feta cheese
Salt to taste
Shuck the corn, carefully picking off the silks (rub the corn with a clean, dry towel to get the last bits). Break the ears in half, place the flat end on the cutting board, and slice the kernels off. They tend to fly around, so give yourself some room.
Slice the cherry tomatoes in half (a serrated knife works best if you’re not a knife-sharpening nerd like me).
Pick the leaves from the herbs and chop coarsely; you want about a loosely packed cup of chopped herbs.
Combine everything but the feta in a large bowl and toss to combine. Then crumble the feta over the top and toss again. The cheese is salty, so taste before adding any more.
Two people can easily eat the whole bowl, but it can serve 4 as one course in a larger meal.