Here in Indiana, we have a theme park that has the tagline “There’s more than corn in Indiana”. We’re hip to the idea that people outside of the Midwest think we’re chock full of cornfields. I used to work for one of the big universities here, and it was always a struggle to convince prospective students from other parts of the country that the campus wasn’t stuck in the middle of a cornfield. But once we got students to visit campus, they were sold on coming here because we’re a friendly, culturally diverse, generally awesome bunch of people here. We really are so much more than corn!
And while I do think Indiana has way more going for it than just being in the Corn Belt, I tend to embrace our corn-fed Midwestern identity, too. There is something really comforting to me about driving down a tunnel between two fields of corn. And I always get giddy when I see the first farm stands pop-up in local intersections selling corn on the cob for a quarter an ear.
Being the born-and-raised Midwestern girl I am, you know that I’ve never met a corn recipe I didn’t like! And while I really think it’s hard to beat a fresh-picked ear of corn grilled with a little bit of butter and salt (yum!), this fresh corn and basil salad is another great way to use up the last of the summer crop.
I picked up a few fresh ears of corn from one of the local farm stands, but you could also use frozen corn if you have some of that kickin’ around. Corn and basil might sound like an odd combo, but they really work together. Corn has some of the same sweet flavor components that make tomatoes such a good partner to basil.
If you do use fresh corn, make sure you use the bowl trick to help you get the kernels off easily. Just place a small ramekin or bowl upside down in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Place the shucked ear of corn on the small bowl and use a knife to slice off the kernels. Works perfectly and with no mess!
This simple side dish takes the best flavors of summer and mixes them into one beautiful, flavorful salad that is perfect for picnics and potlucks. Lightly adapted from Ina Garten.
- 4 large ears corn, shucked
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 1 cup packed basil leaves, chiffonade
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Blanch corn in a large pot of salted water for about two minutes, or until the kernels turn bright in color. Drain from cooking water and place in ice bath to stop cooking.
- When corn is cool enough to handle, cut off the kernels with a sharp knife.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the corn, onion, and basil. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour over the corn mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.