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Charred Corn Summer Salad

This is one of my favorite summer salads.  With sweet corn coming into season and tomatoes and peppers just around the corner, this is a great Farmer's Market dish. The dressing that I make for this makes the salad bright and crisp. It's easy to feed a crowd with this.

I like to grill the corn first in its husks and then char it.  I leave the corn in its husks and soak it in water for about 30 minutes.  This allows the corn to steam on the grill first before pulling back the husks and giving the corn a final char.  

For the sweet peppers, you can use any sweet pepper you like but I am really loving the mini sweet peppers right now for raw dishes - you can slice them into such nice little rings.  

Tweak this recipe any way you like - if you want more tomatoes and not so many peppers, just adjust the amounts.  Use any cheese you like - I'm using feta in this version, but I've used other cheeses, including goat cheese and ricotta salata or even asiago cheese.

The dressing uses white balsamic vinegar, which just has such a nice bright acidity to it and doesn't darken the salad like a regular balsamic.  I hope you give it a try.  

ceramic plates from Fifty One and a Half


Charred Corn Summer Salad

for a printable recipe, click here

serves 8

4 ears of sweet corn, with husks still on
½ cup diced red onion (about ½ of a medium onion)
2 cups of sliced sweet peppers (I like the mini peppers, sliced into rings)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup feta cheese (you can use goat cheese, ricotta salata, etc. or any tangy cheese)
2 cups fresh arugula 

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoons Montreal Steak Seasoning (use can just use pepper, but I like to use this because of its robust flavor)
¼ teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)

Soak corn, in the husks, in water for about 30 minutes.  

In a large bowl, mix the onions, sweet peppers and tomatoes together. 

Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing in a measuring cup and set aside. 

Light a grill and set it to medium high heat.  When the grill is hot, place the soaked corn on the grill.  The husks will keep the corn moist and steam the corn.  Grill the corn for about 12  - 15 minutes, rotating the ears every few minutes with tongs.   The husks will become charred - that's okay.   

Remove the cooked corn from the grill.  Keep the grill lit.  Wearing a grill or oven mitt, hold each ear and carefully pull back the husks with a pair of tongs.  The silk of the corn should just slide off, also.  Pull the husks back to create a "handle".  Place the corn back on the grill and cook until the corn is nicely charred, using the husks to turn the ears over.  

soak the corn in their husks for 30 minutes. 

place them right on the grill and cook for about 12 - 15 minutes 

pull back the husks after you have grilled the corn . . .


and place them back on the grill until they are nicely charred

Remove the corn from the grill and with a sharp knife, cut off the kernels.  Add these to the other vegetables in the bowl.  Add the feta and the dressing and toss.  Add the arugula right before serving and toss again.  Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.  Serve at room temperature. 



Chocolate Crostata with Mascarpone Mousse


"Crostata" is a term used for an Italian tart. This dessert is a chocolate lover's dream and comes from Katherine Thompson, the pastry chef at several top NYC restaurants, including L'Artusi in the West Village and L'Apicio in the East Village. The recipe is from a book called "Women Chefs of New York", which features great women like Sara Jenkins, April Bloomfield and (my favorite) Gabrielle Hamilton. My future daughter-in-law, Robyn, gave me this terrific book for Christmas and as soon as I saw this recipe, I wanted to make it.   

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Roasted Broccoli Rabe (aka Rapini) 

ceramic plate from Fifty One and Half


This green leafy vegetable is a staple in the Italian kitchen.  It is called Rapini but it is better known in the U.S. as Broccoli Rabe.  Italians love their bitter greens and this vegetable fits right in.  It's in the mustard family and is like a turnip green with little broccoli florets.  It's absolutely delicious.  It goes well with a nice grilled steak. There are a number of ways to cook it, but I'm going to show you how to roast it til it's crispy. 

When you buy broccoli rabe, it will be in a nice sized bunch and it will look like a lot, but it does cook down. I like to roast it on sheet pans but you can't crowd it - one large bunch should be divided up between two sheet pans so it crisps up well and doesn't just steam. 

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