We’ve been buying whatever Pacifica Organic Gardens in Carpinteria, California has available and making meals based on those ingredients (our family effort to eat “farm to table”). Their sweet white corn has reached its peak, finally. We’ve not had a hot summer in California. In fact, the dreaded June gloom returned with a vengeance in August. All of the cool weather served to push out the timing of the coastal corn crop. What might have peaked in sweetness in July in a more ordinary summer finally came into its own in late August. Local gardens, including Pacifica, have had a lot of fresh basil of various kinds. Though I’ve tried all of the varietals (lemon basil, lime basil, etc…) I’m remain partial to Italian basil. You’ll notice that I don’t make my pesto with pine nuts. This comes from my miserable personal experience with Pine Mouth (read my post of last fall if you want all of the gory details). I find walnuts a suitable substitute without the risk that I’ll lose my sense of taste for weeks on end.
Corn Salad with Lemon Pesto Dressing (six side servings)
- 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese (can be dropped for vegan version – you may need to adjust the salt slightly – parmesan adds a lot of salt to the overall flavor)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 cups fresh corn, cut off of the cob
- 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Place all of the ingredients, EXCEPT the corn and tomatoes, in a blender. Process until smooth. This is your salad dressing. If you prefer a slightly creamier dressing add ¼ cup plain yogurt or ¼ cup mayonnaise to the dressing and whisk to blend.
Toss the corn, tomatoes and pesto dressing together in a medium bowl. Serve immediately. Can be made ahead by 2-3 hours. If you wait much longer than that the corn will start to get soggy and the green of the pesto will start to darken.