Tastes Like Summer Corn Salad

 

Tastes Like Summer Corn Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Vegetable, Salad, Side
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 10+
 
This recipe is adapted from Heidi Swanson and 101 Cookbooks. While Heidi considered this a summer salad, we have enjoyed it other times of year by using good quality, thawed frozen sweet corn as a substitute when fresh corn is not available. If you use frozen corn now, try this again with fresh corn when summer crops are super sweet. Regardless of which corn you use, the end product will be a sweet, crunchy, chewy salad with a light lemony vinaigrette, that you can serve cold or at room temperature. If you don’t have a shallot, you can use a small amount of another type of onion, but mellow it in the lemon juice before you proceed with the rest of the preparation. You can make the vinaigrette in a bowl or jar, but for picnic transport or do ahead, the jar works better.
Ingredients
  • 6 medium ears of corn or 3 cups of frozen sweet corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light oil (olive, canola, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup toasted pepitas (shelled Mexican pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano or substitute another herb
Instructions
  1. If you have toasted the pepitas or sunflower seeds yourself, put them aside to cool. If you are using fresh corn, remove the husks and silk and with the corn lying on your cutting board, use a sharp knife to cut the kernels from the cobs a row or two at a time as close to their base as you can. Doing only a couple of rows at a time maximizes getting as many full kernels as possible. Place the kernels in a medium bowl with the red bell pepper and shallot while you make the dressing.
  2. Combine the lemon juice, salt, sugar and oregano in a small bowl or jar and mix until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Gradually add the oil, whisking vigorously until the dressing comes together or shake in the jar. Taste, and adjust with more lemon juice, salt or sugar, if needed. This dressing should be on the sweet side, and not overly tangy and acidic.
  3. Just before serving, add the seeds to the bowl of corn along with the dressing. Toss well, getting everything well coated. You can garnish the salad with a little more oregano that you rub between your hands to sprinkle over the top.

Eggplant Ricotta Bake

 

 

 

 

 

Eggplant Ricotta Bake
Author: 
Recipe type: Vegetarian, Entrée
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 4 servings
 
In early Fall, there is an abundance of beautiful, shiny, purple eggplants in the markets. I like to make one of my favorite eggplant dishes that I adapted from Martha Stewart. It is classic comfort food and reminds me of lasagna, but without all the pasta carbs. It is great made the same day, but it might be even better reheated the next day…At least that is what I found when eating the leftovers! This casserole serves 4, but you can double the ingredients and use a 9x13 dish instead of the 8x8 dish. Using Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (freshly grated with a microplane and pressed lightly into the cup) will give you especially rich flavor. You can use your favorite pasta sauce. I made mine with Prego mushroom sauce.
Ingredients
  • 2 large eggplants (1 1/4 pounds each)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the baking dish
  • Coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper to season the eggplant
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese (1 2/3 cups)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (divided use)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 16 ounces store-bought or home-made pasta sauce (2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil leaves
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Slice the eggplants lengthwise into 3/4 inch thick slices. Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on two rimmed baking sheets lined with aluminum foil or non-stick silicone liners such as Silpat. Brush lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper. Turn the slices over and oil and season the second side. A silicone pastry brush makes for easy application and clean-up. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes until the eggplant is tender and golden, turning halfway through to brown both sides.
  2. While the eggplant is baking, whisk together the ricotta, eggs, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, oregano, salt, and pepper. Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with oil.
  3. Divide the eggplant slices into 4 similar quantities for layering. It is fine if you need to cut some of the pieces. Place one layer of the eggplant slices into the bottom of the oiled dish. Spread with 1 cup of pasta sauce. An offset spatula can help make the layers even. Place another eggplant layer. Spread with half of the ricotta mixture. Repeat the layers, ending with a ricotta layer. Distribute the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese over the top. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake until bubbling and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving with the chopped basil leaves garnishing each portion.