In the height of summer, there’s nothing quite like a fresh and vibrant salad made from garden pickings and farmers market finds. When it comes to showcasing the best of the season, sweet corn and juicy tomatoes take center stage. Inspired by the traditional Italian panzanella, which is a bread and tomato salad, this recipe adds a twist with grilled croutons, fresh corn kernels, pickled red onions, and a basil vinaigrette.
To begin, let’s talk about the star of the show – sweet corn. In the summer, corn is at its peak, with crisp and juicy kernels that boast a delicate milky sweetness. While some recipes call for cooking the corn, this version uses raw kernels to maintain their fresh-picked flavor. Trust us, it makes all the difference.
Now, onto the salad itself. While not entirely traditional, this recipe captures the essence of a panzanella salad in all its summery glory. Grilled croutons made from a French or Italian baguette add a hint of char and depth of flavor. The exuberantly ripe and juicy tomatoes provide bursts of flavor and color. And let’s not forget about the quick-pickled red onions, which soften their pungency and amplify their natural sweetness.
To tie it all together, there’s the herbaceous basil vinaigrette. Made with fresh basil leaves, garlic, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and extra-virgin olive oil, this dressing adds a bright and tangy touch. Note that the dressing has a thicker consistency than a traditional vinaigrette. If you prefer a runnier dressing, simply add more oil to thin it out.
Now, let’s assemble the salad. It’s a sum of its parts, with each component prepared individually before being combined. Begin by soaking the thinly sliced red onion in red wine vinegar. This step helps to mellow the onions’ flavor while adding a touch of acidity. After about 20 minutes, drain and blot the onions dry.
Next, grill or broil the halved baguette until golden and slightly charred. Once cooled, tear it into bite-size pieces. In a serving bowl, toss together the mixed greens, corn kernels, tomatoes, pickled red onions, and grilled bread. Drizzle the basil vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine. If desired, serve with additional dressing on the side.
And there you have it – a tomato and corn panzanella salad that embodies the spirit of summer. With its vibrant colors, fresh flavors, and assortment of textures, this salad is sure to be a hit at any gathering or simply enjoyed as a refreshing lunch or dinner. Whether you’re harvesting ingredients from your own garden or making a trip to the local farmers market, this recipe celebrates the bounty of the season in a delicious and nutritious way.
So, go ahead and indulge in this leafy bowl of goodness. With each bite, you’ll savor the taste of summer and appreciate the simple pleasure of a well-made salad. Happy eating!