It’s hot out there, folks — too hot for rambling preludes, so let’s get right to it. This summer salad is a slightly modified version of the one in Sara Forte’s lovely cookbook, Bowl + Spoon (in case you missed it, this recipe came from the same source). I’m calling it a farmers’ market salad because the three stars of the show — kale, tomatoes, and corn — can all be found in abundance at your local market right about now. So go! Carpe di-season! Because soon enough, summer will fade into fall and you’ll wish you had tried this salad.
farmers’ market summer salad
adapted from Bowl + Spoon
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water or broth
about 1 pound cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt & pepper
corn kernels from 2 ears of corn
1 bunch curly kale, chopped into thin ribbons
3/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts (or another nut)
3/4 cup crumbled feta
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup plain yogurt
salt & pepper
There are several steps to this recipe, and almost all of them could be done up to a day in advance. Start by cooking your quinoa then transferring it to a medium bowl to cool, fluffing it occasionally with a fork.
Now let’s turn to those tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Halve the tomatoes then spread them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, then remove from oven to cool.
If you’ve never roasted tomatoes before (I hadn’t!), you might be thinking this step is skippable. I strongly urge against skipping. A roasted tomato has a sweetness and depth of flavor that sets it far apart from its fresh, non-roasted brethren.
Next, we address the corn. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a large pan then add the corn kernels. Saute for 3 or 4 minutes, with minimal stirring, just until the kernels start to char. Set aside to cool.
At this point, chop your kale and parsley and place them in a large mixing bowl. We’re nearly there!
But first, the dressing. Using a food processor or an immersion blender, mix together all the dressing ingredients until well-combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Once everything is sufficiently cooled, it’s time to bring it all together. I suggest tossing half the dressing with the kale and parsley first.
Finally, add the remaining ingredients (tomatoes, corn, quinoa, pine nuts and feta) and the rest of the dressing, and toss well to combine.
I found that this salad is even better after letting it sit in the fridge for an hour or so, giving the dressing a chance to permeate all and ensuring that the overall effect is cool, crunchy and utterly refreshing. This salad gets a real kick from the garlicky, mustard-y dressing, but these flavors are nicely balanced by the tang of the feta and the surprisingly sweet bursts of roasted tomato. Over nearly a week of 90 degree days, this salad kept me feeling fresh and full, and the day I finished off the last of it was a sad day indeed.
Pro-tip: pair the salad with a fruity-but-not-too-fruity beer (may I suggest Dogfish Romantic Chemistry IPA?) for a real summer treat.