I think this may be the most delicious salad I have ever eaten. During the late summer, when corn, peaches, and tomatoes are at their peak, we have this for dinner at least once a week, and it's always a refreshing treat.
Since this recipe depends entirely on the freshness of the main ingredients, I'd save it for summertime only. The rest of the year, you'll just have something to look forward to!
- 5 ears corn, shucked
- 2 large or 3 small peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped
- 2 medium-large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons flavorful extra virgin olive oil
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (depending on how tart you like your dressing—I use 2)
- 16 to 20 bocconcini (small fresh mozzarella balls)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- One 1-pound ready-made polenta
- 15 to 20 large basil leaves
Stage 1 (15 minutes)
1. Microwave or steam corn until crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Meanwhile, peel and chop the peaches. Put peaches into a strainer set over a large bowl. Chop the tomatoes and add to strainer.
3. Chop the onion and put into a small bowl of ice water; cover and refrigerate.
4. Cut the kernels from the corn with a sharp knife. Add to the strainer. Cover and refrigerate.
Stage 2 (10 minutes; if doing in two sessions combine with Stage 3)
1. Drain the onion and combine with the other vegetables in one large bowl. Discard the accumulated juices.
2. Add the extra virgin olive oil and vinegar, toss, and refrigerate.
Stage 3 (20 minutes)
1. Remove salad from the refrigerator—you don’t want it to be too cold when you eat. Add the bocconcini and salt and pepper to taste, toss, and set aside.
2. Preheat a grill pan or an outdoor grill over medium-high heat. Coat lightly with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
3. While the grill is heating, cut the polenta crosswise into 12 slices and pat dry with a paper towel (this will help achieve those pretty grill marks more quickly).
4. Arrange polenta slices in the grill pan or on the grill, and cook until dark grill marks appear, 6 to 8 minutes, then turn over and cook for 6 to 8 minutes more.
5. While the polenta is grilling, wash and dry the basil, then stack the leaves flat on top of each other. Roll the stack like a cigar, then slice thinly—you’ll end up with thin pretty strips of basil. Add to the salad.
6. Put 3 slices of polenta on each plate. Top with the salad, and serve.