Say hello to friend and expectant mama Laura, who blogs at Cult of Domesticity. She knows her way around the kitchen and has some perfect additions to our Food Friday archive. Happy birthday, USA!
It’s the Fourth of July today, one of my absolute favorite holidays! One of the things I like best about Independence Day is the food. Other holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter) usually require formal food and sit-down dinners, but the Fourth of July is all about casual food, buffets, and pot lucks. Happening at the beginning of the summer, it also occurs when the fresh local produce is just starting to show up.
Today’s post includes a couple of recipes I discovered last summer. The first is a fresh sweet corn salad (with a couple of variations) and the second is a watermelon salad. These can either be prepared specifically for a Fourth of July cookout, or can be prepared using the leftovers from a cookout.
Sweet Corn Salad (serves 4)
adapted from Martha Stewart Living
6 ears of steamed sweet corn, cooled
3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or other acid*
2 tablespoons olive oil or other oil*
Freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste
Remove kernels from corn using a knife or a corn zipper**.
In a bowl combine corn kernels and chopped scallions.
Add acid and oil to the bowl and toss to coat.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve cold or room temp.
*Here’s where the variations come in–you can change the flavor based on which acid and oil you use. My 2 favorites are below.
** A corn zipper is a cool instrument that makes it really easy to remove the whole kernel from the corn (versus a knife which leave some of the kernel parts behind). They are sold at Williams Sonoma and other cooking stores.
Variation #1: Southwest Inspired Corn Salad
Acid: Fresh squeezed lime juice (about 1 lime)
Oil: Canola, olive, grapeseed or something else with a light flavor
Extras: you can add a 1/2 a jalapeno diced (seeds removed), a handful of chopped fresh cilantro, a 1/2 a red bell pepper chopped, and/or some drained canned black beans.
Variation #2: Asian Inspired Corn Salad
Acid: Rice wine vinegar
Oil: Canola, olive, grapeseed, or something else with a light flavor
Extras: Add some grated fresh ginger root–a tablespoon or so depending on how much you like ginger. A 1/2 red bell pepper chopped adds nice color and crunch.
The variations on this basic corn salad can be as wide as your imagination. Experiment with it until you find your favorite. It’s a great use for leftover sweet corn (and can be made in the winter with frozen corn).
Watermelon Salad with Rum and Mint (Serves 6)
Adapted from Everyday Food
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest plus 2 tablespoons juice (from 1 lime)
2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons rum (I prefer Goslings Black Seal or Mt. Gay)
1/4 teaspoon salt
6-pound piece chilled seedless watermelon (I never weighed it, just used a big wedge or a 1/2 of a round melon)
2 tablespoons slivered fresh mint leaves
In a large bowl whisk together lime juice, sugar, rum, and salt.
Scoop melon into balls or cut into chunks and add to the lime juice mixture in the bowl.
Sprinkle with mint and lime zest and toss to coat.
If there’s any left over you can toss it in the blender with some more rum and some ice cubes for a yummy frozen watermelon mojito!
Hope you all have a wonderful Fourth of July!