This past weekend was full of adventures on some of the back roads of Massachusetts. From Cambridge, to Dracut, to Rockport, Manchester and back again, we enjoyed the lush green summer landscape that a road trip via busy highway lacks.
Along the ride, we spotted plenty of small farm stands dotting the shoulders of these scenic routes and boy was the produce a-plenty! Beautiful, craggy, deep crimson, yellow, and orange heirloom tomatoes are downright irresistible, and one simply cannot have a proper summer salad without fresh basil. Add into the mix local sweet corn, and you've got the ingredients for today's super simple salad -- all inspired by the open road.
I get a little burned out on steamed corn, no matter how naturally delicious and sweet the ear (my dad would wholeheartedly disagree). So, for today's recipe, I wanted to give plain corn a richer, deeper flavor through a quick roast. When raw, simply cut the kernels off the cob, toss with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the corn out on a sheet tray and roast at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes until they are starting to slightly brown.
As for the pita chips, I always like to have a crunchy snack waiting in the wings, and they make an especially nice accompaniment to a light summer salad. Whole wheat pita pockets (Joseph's!) are my pick.
Roasted Corn, Tomato and Basil Salad
- 6 ears of corn, cut from cobs
- 1/2 lb. tomato, chopped
- 10-12 leaves fresh basil, torn or finely chopped
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Goat cheese crumbles, optional
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl, toss the corn with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread the corn out on a sheet tray, and roast for 20 minutes. Transfer roasted corn to another shallow container, and allow to cool.
2. Toss the corn, tomatoes, basil, and salt & pepper to taste in a mixing bowl. Add goat cheese crumbles if desired. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
For pita chips:
- Whole pita pockets
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. To start, cut the pockets in half, just like if you were going to make a sandwich. Then, cut halves into triangular wedges. Open the wedges up and tear or cut along the fold line for each chip.
2. Arrange the cut pitas on a sheet tray. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
Jessica Roy is a private chef, specialty caterer and author of foodie blog, Shiso Fresh. Follow her at http://blogs.lowellsun.com/yourpersonalchef.