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Reaching for Summer

July 24th, 2008

While it hasn’t quite been a balmy summer here in San Francisco, that doesn’t mean I can’t cook like it is. After all, my market is filled with summer produce like peaches, nectarines, raspberries, watermelon, eggplant and corn. Having now lived in San Francisco for almost exactly 3 years, I’m shocked to find myself accustomed to foggy weather, pea coats in July and a rather pale complexion. In some ways, having these chilly days make everyone appreciate those amazing breakthrough sunny/warm days. Golden Gate Park is filled with walkers, bikers and sunbathers. The line for Bi-Rite Creamery (which I happen to have just hit!) runs around the corner of Dolores. People are generally happy.

While today has been the first sunny day this week (and still a chilly one at that), I’ve managed to pretend that I’m living through a heatwave on the East Coast by eating some pretty summery meals. The other day, we were at the store and both thought–hey, it’s been a while since we’ve had corn! Matt claims corn is a fall vegetable, but for me, it’s all summer. We bought two ears of corn and decided split one ear for corn on the cobb and one for this lovely corn salad from my Barefoot Contessa cookbook, which I updated with some twists. We’ve also had a bag of organic fresh sweet peas sitting in our fridge that I have been incorporating into everything I’ve cooked this week, it seems. We’ve been making them in a myriad of ways–from simple and buttered to tossed with mushrooms and sauteed with baby red potatoes and rosemary. They, along with my mini tomatoes really made this a colorful salad that screamed July to me. We served it alongside an amazingly moist and hearty honey ginger mahi mahi.

Summer Corn Salad–Recipe c/o Barefoot Contessa w/ adaptations by yours truly
1 ear of corn, shucked
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon good olive oil
freshly shelled peas (as many or few as you’d like)
2 small tomatoes
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
julienned fresh basil leaves

1 ear of corn doesn’t sound like a lot, but trust me, this serves 2 easily. Boil the corn in a large pot of salted, boiling water for about 5 minutes. When done, rinse under cool water and then cut the kernels off the cobb.

Shell roughly 10-12 pea pods and toss into the kernels. Slice the 2 small tomatoes and add to the salad.

Toss all of the ingredients with the vinegar, olive oil, salt, basil and pepper.