Not like any other corn and tomato salad you’ve ever had. What makes it different is the use of white balsamic vinegar as the dressing. All of 1 1/2 tablespoons for an 8-serving bowl of it. You wouldn’t think it would add all that much. But yes, it does.
As it happens, I had some lemon flavored white balsamic vinegar that I picked up at Oliver’s in San Clemente some months ago. I’d not used it yet. I thought white balsamic was milder in flavor (it’s not) – making that assumption just because it’s as clear as water in color. Some other people who made this salad commented they didn’t like using dark balsamic (which, I think, is what the original recipe called for) because it stained the corn. When I read that I just decided to use white balsamic.
Although I’ve used white balsamic for some years (and not often, I have to admit, and only when a recipe called for it) I wasn’t sure of the production process. Here’s what I found at www.thekitchen.com:
White balsamic vinegar . . . blends white grape must with white wine vinegar and is cooked at a low temperature to avoid any darkening. Some manufacturers age the vinegar in oak barrels, while other use stainless steel.
The flavors of the two are very similar, although the dark balsamic is slightly sweeter and tends to be a little more syrupy. The white has more of a clean aftertaste. The main reason one would use white balsamic, rather than regular, is mostly aesthetic. It can be used with lighter colored foods, dressings, or sauces without any discoloring.
It’s that last sentence that confirmed my reasoning. No dark colored, stained corn for me!
The recipe I’ve had hanging around in my to-try file for some years – it first appeared in Gourmet Magazine in 2000. By the way, did you know that the internet still has a Gourmet magazine presence – not just old recipes (1941 to when Gourmet stopped publishing a monthly magazine in 2009) which live over at www.epicurious.com – it actually has new content. Just not in a monthly magazine. But it’s an evolving online website. They also publish some special editions, which I’ve not seen, although I don’t frequent any magazine aisles at all – I have all the magazine reading I can handle, thank you! But perhaps I should look at the special editions now and then.
Okay, back to this recipe. It’s SO very simple, although you do sauté the corn a little. I questioned why I should need to do that since corn cut right off the cob is so very tasty and tender. But perhaps when it’s cooked slightly it just becomes sweeter. Hard to imagine, as sweet as corn is these days. It’s cooked in a little jot of olive oil, then you add the garlic, and the halved cherry tomatoes. Lastly you drizzle in the white balsamic vinegar and lastly the scallion. Done. I didn’t add quite as many tomatoes as called for, and I decided to use the white part of the scallion too – meaning I used both the white and green parts. Perfection.
What I liked: everything about it – the combination of flavors is particularly good. We had it cold as left overs a couple of nights later and I swear it was as good if not better. No balsamic taste at all, yet it added a little elusive flavor somehow. I’ll be making this again this summer, before corn season is gone.
What I didn’t like: gosh, nothing. Worth making for sure.
Corn, Tomato and Scallion Salad
Recipe By: Gourmet, 7/2000
Serving Size: 6-8
NOTES: Salad can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. You can also use regular dark balsamic in this – the corn will have a brownish tinge to it.
4 ears fresh corn — shucked
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 whole garlic cloves — minced
1 1/2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar — [mine happened to be “lemon” white balsamic]
1 pound cherry tomatoes — halved
1/2 cup scallions — coarsely chopped (use just scallion tops according to the original recipe – I used whole scallions)
1. Cut corn kernels from ears, discarding cobs. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté corn with salt and pepper to taste, stirring, until tender, about 2 minutes.
2. Add garlic and sauté, stirring, 1 minute. Add vinegar and cook, stirring, until most is evaporated, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook, gently stirring, 1 minute.
3. Remove skillet from heat and stir in scallions.
4. Transfer vegetables to a large plate to cool and season with salt and pepper.
Per Serving: 83 Calories; 4g Fat (40.1% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 12g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 12mg Sodium.