Although it’s not officially summer yet, here at the Circle B Kitchen it sure feels like summer. The garden is in the ground, and after a very cool few weeks, it’s actually starting to grow; baseball season is in full swing; we had our first watermelon last night; and piles of fresh, sweet corn are showing up in the markets. I ask you, is there any more iconic piece of summer produce? OK, maybe watermelon, but if you don’t have corn stuck in your teeth at the end of a barbecue, something’s not quite right.
We love it on the cob, we love it off the cob, we love it steamed, roasted, barbecued and we love it raw, as it appears in this salad. I’ve been making this one for a couple of years now and it’s become one of our favorite summer side dishes. With fresh kernels of sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, avocado, scallions, and a light lime dressing, this has to be one of the most awesome summer salads. The flavors and textures are just perfectly balanced, although if you object to eating raw corn, I’m sure it would not suffer from a light steaming first.
And this salad was a total surprise. A Tex-Mex-themed pasta salad, it was full of great flavors and textures…sweet corn, tomatoes, smoky black beans, cilantro, a nice kick from the tomatillo salsa, the crunch from the celery, and just the right creaminess from chunks of pepper jack cheese. Originally a Rachel Ray recipe, I tweaked it just a little by adding the black beans and sliced olives. I also swapped out the chopped red pepper for roasted red peppers and liked the smokiness they added.
Although it says that it serves 4, I forewarn you that as a side dish, it makes enough for the whole neighborhood. But that got me to thinking that perhaps this could be transformed into a main course with the addition of some chipotle-marinated chicken, in which case, yeah, it would serve about 4. I’m so doing that.