Summer Corn Salad with Toasted Grains

1 Jul

QuinoaAbove

CORN! Hello there, you sweet crunchy yellow temptress.

I don’t know about you, but even this rain–which is an understatement to refer to it simply as “rain”--is not enough to get me down…I’m on full Summer  mode. Chilled soups, raw veggies, fruit as dessert, beer drinking as much as possible, weird sports bra tan lines from running, random bug bites that you can’t imagine how they got to that part of your body….mmmm yeah, drink it all in!

So naturally I’m trying to emulate this fresh season in my culinary escapades, so when I came across this recipe I knew it was meant to be

Summer Corn Salad with Toasted Grains – Food52 }

Summer? Good. Corn? Great. Toasted Grains? Where do I sign up! Salad? Well, this probably the least exciting word in the title…

Let’s take our corn

Corn

And strip it of it’s dignity by cutting off it’s kernels. Now that your corn is down to it’s skivvies, you’re going to do the unthinkable: milk the cobs. I know, what the hell is that supposed to mean? Picture this: when you eat corn on the cob (with your face) many times when you bite into the cob you get the whole kernel, so the cob looks a little skeletal…however when you cut off the kernels the bottom portion is still on the cob. This “milking” process involves taking the back of your knife and sliding it along the shaft (I’m sorry) and “milking” the last morsels of kernel into a bowl. Think of it like corn pulp. It’s messy (I got corn pieces all over my microwave). I felt dirty the whole time (I’m milking the cob….filthy).

CornMilk

Now add enough milk to this to make up 1.5 cups (I just added 1 C plus a good additional “glug” and hoped for the best). Meanwhile, heat a dutch oven over medium heat and cook up some bacon

Bacon

(the original recipe involved 2 strips of bacon…pshhht, I made it 5). Cook these up until they’re nice and crispy and remove with a slotted spoon, reserving the sweet sweet bacon grease. Now add some chopped onion, garlic, and jalapeño (seeds and all), and some Maple Syrup

Jalapeno

And all that de-cobbed corn (not the milk, we’ll get to the milk)

Corncook

Cook for about 5 minutes, or enough time for the onion to cook. Remove from dutch oven and set aside. Prepare yourself: the corn mixture at this point is one of the best thing ever. It’s spicy, it’s sweet, it’s crunchy, it’s savory. Just don’t eat it all before you need finish the dish! Now add 1 C quinoa and 3/4 C brown basmati rice (or in my case, hey there’s the last of a big bag of brown rice in the back of my pantry, let’s just use that up) to the dutch oven. Stir for about 5-6 minutes to toast the grains.

QuinoaToast

Add 1 3/4 C water and the corn/milk mixture, give a nice stir and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low, and cook for 30-40 minutes until the liquid is absorbed

QuinoaCook

Now add back in your bacon and corn mixture. Chop up some cilantro and toss that in too.

Quinoa

Now the original recipe calls for a Mexican cheese called cotija cheese, which is similar to a mild feta. I couldn’t find it, and was told I could substitute a hard aged cheese, so I opted for Parmesan. While it wasn’t “bad” necessarily, it was really overpowering and covered up some of the other wonderful sweet and spicy notes. Next time I’d go cheese free.

QuinoaAbove

Now, never underestimate how much 2ish Cups of dry grains will make. I’ve been eating this for 2 meals a day for about 5 days now (hey, no complaints here, I love it!)

 

Adapted from { Summer Corn Salad with Toasted Grains – Food52 }

  • 5 strips of bacon, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, minced (with seeds and membranes – you want a little heat)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the flat side of a large knife
  • 4 ears corn, shucked
  • 2% Milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1.5 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cups basmati rice (or however much is left in your bag in the back of the pantry)
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup snipped cilantro
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Cut the kernels from your corn and set aside.
  2. Milk your cobs (tee hee hee) by scraping the cob with the backside of your knife into a large bowl/piepan. Continue on all sides of the cob. Add some milk to make 1.5 Cups all together.
  3. In a Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy and fat has rendered. Remove with slotted spoon and transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Add onion, flattened garlic, corn kernels and jalapeno to bacon drippings in dutch oven. Add a some salt and maple syrup. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring pretty frequently, until onion is cooked. Remove and set aside.
  5. Return Dutch oven to heat and immediately add quinoa and basmati to begin toasting, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Toast until grains are fragrant and golden/golden brown, about 6 minutes.  Add water and corn-milk, and bring mixture to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low to simmer. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until liquid is completely absorbed and grains are tender (quinoa will be more cooked than rice, but this offers a nice toothiness to the texture)
  6. Gently fluff grains with a fork and transfer to a large serving bowl to cool.
  7. Once the grains have cooled a bit, fold in bacon, corn-onion-jalapeno mixture, and chopped cilantro.
  8. Top with additional cilantro, and some fresh black pepper.
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3 Responses to “Summer Corn Salad with Toasted Grains”

  1. ChangeTheWorld July 1, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    This looks delicious- perfect summer side dish. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Karen July 1, 2013 at 10:43 pm #

    Looks fabulous, just pinned it!

  3. Megan @ MegGoesNomNom July 3, 2013 at 2:40 am #

    I too am guilty of doubling, hell, tripling the bacon quantity in recipes.

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