Summer Sunshine Salad

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sweet corn kernels. Sun gold cherry tomatoes. Zucchini ribbons. Olive oil. Vinegar. Parsley. That’s all it takes to create summer sunshine on a plate. (Goat cheese optional.)

With a name like this one, I’ll bet you’re thinking about something fruity and sweet, no? I seem to recall some ambrosia-like salad of yore with a similar name. Actually, I had two other competing names: A Lovely Little Lunch—which is exactly what this was—or the literal Sun Gold Tomato, Zucchini, and Corn Salad.

And then I looked at my photograph.

With the zucchini ribbon rays stemming from its sunny center filled with orange cherry tomatoes and freshly shucked corn, not to mention the brilliant summer flavors …. well, the name was obvious.

I should mention that I count on you, dear readers, to read my posts even when the name doesn’t give the ingredients away. Where’s the fun in that, after all?

(Though no one seemed to appreciate my Spa Salad with seared trout, blackberries, orange, and fennel, which is totally awesome [the dish, not necessarily the title]. Are none of you fish eaters? If so, we’re going to need to address that at some point. Crazy nutritious, fantastically tasty, and I’ve converted at least one person from a fish hater to one who now prefers it to a ribeye. True story.) 

Anyway, this fishless salad is a seasonal favorite whose days are numbered. When butter & sugar corn meets candy-like sungold cherry tomatoes – aka, nature’s M&M’s, as I’ve noted previously and are pictured here alongside my favorite summer sandwich – and the two are tossed with nothing more than EVOO, white balsamic vinegar, flat-leaf parsley, chopped onion, and a touch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, the result is nothing short of summer sunshine on a plate. Don’t forget to put a few extra zucchini ribbons on the bed of the plate, too, for extra nutrition and flavor.

Couldn’t be simpler.

Oh, and if you want to take this salad to the next level, scatter a bit of herb-crusted goat’s cheese on top.

Does it need the chèvre? No, not at all. In fact, this was a cheese after-thought that I decided to try after a few bites, which is why the zucchini ribbons on the right-hand side of the plate have been disrupted. (Yet still makes solid food porn, I think.) You can keep the flavors fresh with just the summer’s sunniest vegetables plated up perfectly. But the cheese takes one lovely little lunch up a notch, adding complexity and elegance. Gorgonzola or parmigiana shavings would work beautifully as well.

Let me know if it makes you smile.

A Farmers’ Market Aside

Have I mentioned lately how lucky I am to be able to get all of this and more from my local farmers’ market? Including the chèvre, I might add. No, farmers’ markets are not the panacea to the world’s woes, but the number one reason to shop there is taste and variety, pure and simple. And given the many options I have to access markets throughout Boston and Brookline, where I live and work, there’s no reason to shop anywhere else if you can swing it, especially during the heart of summer.

So. It’s late August and summer’s abundance awaits at a market near you, not to mention the feel-good feeling you’ll get from supporting local businesses and farmers. But if you can’t make it happen for whatever reason, you can still bring a little sunshine indoors with today’s salad, wherever you procure your produce.


Learn more about food personality and health expert Dr. PK Newby here, or her experience as a nutrition scientist, professor, and consultant here. Or click here if you just want to ogle food porn featuring plant-based, globally inspired cooking.

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Dr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist, speaker, and author with expertise in all things food, farm to fork, whether preventing obesity and other chronic diseases through diet or teaching planet-conscious eating. As a health expert and food personality, she brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability to educate and inspire, helping people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Because healthy food shouldn’t suck.

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