This salad is corn-centric, as the corn in the Hudson Valley at the moment is pretty off the charts tasty. If you can get your hands on some fresh corn, give this a try. The cornbread croutons bumps up the flavor of the season even more. The fresh made Caesar dressing pulls it all together. Here we go!
Boil a pot of water and cook 2 to 3 ears of corn. Once done, pull out and set aside to cool. Then cut the kernels off the cob over a bowl. Let sit until ready to assemble. Turn oven to 400, I know, very surprising. Let it heat up. You can certainly make cornbread or muffins, but I found some stellar ones at the grocery store so those were used. Carefully cut them into good sized cubes. Put on a baking sheet, sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil and a good amount of pepper. Put in the oven for 10 minutes, then take out and turn them, then bake in the oven for another 10. Once done, take out to cool.
Now on to the dressing. A food processor or blender is best for this. Roughly chop 2 cloves of garlic, add to the mixer. Then a heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Juice 2 good sized lemons and add that juice. Chop up 2 anchovies and add to the mix along with the yolk of a room temp egg and liberal pinches of salt & pepper. Almost there. Pulse it all. Now, with the machine running slowly pour in a half of a cup of the best extra virgin olive oil you can get your hands on. Lastly add a third to half of a cup of finely grated Pecorino Romano and pulse one last time. You have now made one very tasty Caesar dressing!
Tear up as much kale as you would like in a big bowl, being careful not to add any of the tough spine of the kale. Sprinkle in the corn, a little more grated Pecorino, then spoon over the dressing, adding as much or as little as you like. Top with the cornbread croutons. Serve. I like to offer more dressing in a small bowl that guests can add if they like their salad super dressed. It is a taste of Summer in a salad. Enjoy, enjoy. Mister Sive grilled barbecued chicken that worked great with this salad. Truly, just about any main dish like steak or fish would be yummy with this too.
This time of year, we are having corn every chance we can. Growing up in the Midwest, and playing tennis on courts where the corn fields were right next to them, corn holds a special place in my heart. Whether it be boiled, cooked on the grill, or taken off the cob and sautéed with sweet butter and a few pinches of salt–it just speaks to me of Summer and all the good stuff that brings. As the season winds down, we are savoring each and every kernel. Cheers to the simple, humble and oh so tasty ear of corn in whatever form you like cooking it best!
One of the fun aspects of writing this daily blog, is folks recommend other people to me who write blogs that they think I should read or meet. I was not a big blog reader before I started writing mine a little over a year ago, but have really enjoyed perusing more and more. I love a mixture of blogs–design, food, art, lifestyle–and will share with you in the coming months some of my favorites. The above salad combination was from a post by the talented interior designer in San Francisco, Grant K. Gibson. He writes a lovely blog about the things that inspire him at www.grantkgibson.blogspot.com. He also is an exceptional photographer, whose work will be showing up shortly on the walls at Watson Kennedy any day now. More on that once it arrives. Now onto that fab salad.
I have made this salad 3 times, each time doing a little something different. The first time I did it with the baked chèvre as Grant had shown. I also made it for a large dinner party and instead crumbled feta into the salad in place of the goat cheese and it rocked, as well. The feta was just an easier option since it was such a large salad for a big group. We have also had it without any cheese added, and it is sublime. That is what I love about recipes, that you can add or delete and still make something wonderful. This is super easy, and could not be tastier and representative of Summer.
Take the corn off of the cob after you have boiled it and it has cooled. Pit or slice cherries, you just don’t want the pit involved. Make a simple vinaigrette of 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, 1/4 of a cup of balsamic vinegar, 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of both salt and pepper and whisk all together. Combine the corn and cherries with the arugula and dress with the balsamic vinaigrette. You will be very happy you made this salad. Try any of the cheese options or not. Enjoy!