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Cob Appeal

When it comes to cooking this season, Kara Wille is all ears

Despite the availability of pretty much any vegetable you want, any time you want at the supermarket, fresh corn is one of those foods that really should be savoured in season. Along with locally harvested peaches and homegrown tomatoes, fresh corn is something to look forward to as your summer inches along, a reward for getting through the long, humid days of June and July.

Of course, for summer-lovers the appearance of corncobs on market stands is bittersweet, heralding as it does the end of your favourite season, but is there a better way to celebrate the end of summer than with great golden ears of corn?

Although it’s hard to get past the simple perfection of corn on the cob (invariably burning the roof of your mouth just behind the teeth as you sink your choppers into a steaming hot cob), there are numerous fun things you can do with fresh corn. Thick soups that can be served hot or cold, sweet puddings, fritters, breads… But who wants to be stuck in the kitchen when summer’s passing so quickly? Here’s a quick and delicious recipe for Succotash Salad, described by its authors Matt and Ted Lee as “the quintessence of summer and perfect for picnicking.” Served on its own or beachside with some cold fried chicken, a glass of Chardonnay and a fresh peach for dessert, it’s an August meal fit for kings.

Succotash Salad
(from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook)
For 6 people

2 quarts water (1.9 litres)
4 ears fresh sweet corn, husks removed
2 cups fresh or frozen shelled beans such as butterbeans, baby limas or lady cream peas (about 1-1⁄2 pounds unshelled) (500 mL)
3 ripe medium tomatoes, skinned, seeded and roughly chopped
1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil (120 mL)
3 Tbsp lime juice (45 mL)
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (60 mL)
1 tsp Dijon mustard (5 mL)
kosher salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large stockpot over high heat, bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the corn, return to a boil, and boil vigorously for 2 minutes. Using tongs, transfer corn to a colander. Place it beneath a stream of cold water to halt the cooking. Reserve.

Add the beans to the corn cooking water, return to a boil, and boil vigorously until the beans are soft, 13 to 18 minutes. Strain the beans in a colander and place them beneath a stream of cold water for 1 minute to halt the cooking. Reserve.

Cut the corn from the cobs, making sure to scrape the cobs up and down with the edge of a spoon to remove the juicy bits still adhering to them. Place the corn kernels and corn juice in a large bowl and add the beans, tomatoes and basil. Stir gently to combine.

Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil and mustard until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad and toss.

Cover the salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to four hours. Toss every 30 minutes to make certain the flavours meld evenly and toss once again before serving.


Wines to Match

Flat Rock Cellars 2007 Chardonnay Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula $16.95 (681247) This roughly 50/50 blend of tank fermented and barrel fermented Chardonnay is a blend of fruit from four different blocks on the Flat Rock estate. Its smoky complexity and creamy texture make a natural match for this succotash salad. flatrockcellars.com

Quails’ Gate Winery 2008 Chardonnay Okanagan Valley $18.99 Also a blend of tank and barrel fermented components, Quails’ Gate 2008 Chardonnay is rich, creamy and complex. The generous flavour and overall balance make a nice match for this salad paired with grilled lobster tails or pan roasted halibut. quailsgate.com