As I write this, it is August,, but it seems like summer’ has not begun. This is partly because in California, where I live, there is no summer really until everyone else has finished theirs; our big heat kicks in in September. Yes, we are all screwed up: no winter, no spring unless you count June, and summer in the fall.
Anyway, my family and I are fleeing to Cape Cod this week, to experience summer in all seriousness. We go there to join the extended family for two weeks of revelry. There are often fifteen people for dinner; there’s a whole lot of cooking going on. (It’s what us crabby cooks would call a “busman’s holiday”).
The trouble is accommodating certain picky relatives. I tried to make a corn salad last summer, all loaded with tomatoes, beans and cilantro. My sister-in-law doesn’t like tomatoes (or anything else that has seeds), so I left them out, and my niece said she wouldn’t eat beans due to concerns about flatulence (she was going on a blind date later), so I ditched the beans. Then my husband sneered at the cilantro and my father-in-law reminded me that he was allergic to onions. So the salad was stripped down to corn, with basil subbing for the cilantro. (It was still good, by the way.)
If you have a more tolerant family, try this recipe. It’s great for the end of summer, when corn and tomatoes are peaking.
4 ears fresh corn, husks and silk removed
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
¼ cup diced red onion
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the corn, and cook until it is just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. (Or steam the corn in a vegetable steamer if you prefer.)Drain the corn and set it aside to cool.
When it is cool enough to handle, scrape the kernels off the cobs with a sharp knife, letting them fall into a salad bowl.. Drain and rinse the beans, and pat them dry with paper towels. Add the beans, tomatoes, onion, and cilantro to the corn.
Pour the lime juice into a small bowl, and gradually add the olive oil, whisking until the dressing thickens. Whisk in the cumin, salt, and pepper. Pour the dressing over the corn mixture, mix well, and serve.
Variations: Use basil instead of cilantro. Seed and chop a red bell pepper and substitute it for the tomatoes. Add a jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped, if you want a little heat.