Sweet Corn, Green Bean & Tomato Salad

The most valuable piece of information I learned about flavor profiles in culinary school was this little tidbit:  If it grows together, it goes together.  Two items in season at the same time will almost always taste amazing in combination.  Strawberry and rhubarb is a great example of such a Spring combination.  What I want to talk about today, though, is this absolutely transcendent salad I put together using the best of late Summer's bounty.

Sweet corn, green beans, and tomatoes are all at their peak right now and what better way to celebrate them than to toss them all together with a sliver of red onion and a bright, basil-flecked dressing?

The thin slices of onion enjoy a bath in the white wine vinegar that later becomes a component of the dressing; this softens both their texture and their bite.  The baby green beans and corn on the cob both get plunged first into boiling, salted water and then into ice water to cook them just until they're perfectly crisp-tender.  Raw, candy-sweet cherry tomatoes need nothing but a slice in half while roughly-chopped sweet basil is thrown in with a heavy hand.  A dollop of dijon mustard and a touch of honey in the dressing balance it all out.

We ate this salad alongside BLTs, another summer favorite.  But this could easily be a complete meal with a sliced hard-boiled egg on top.  However you decide to plate it, make this salad now and as often as possible while these summer gems are still around!

Sweet Corn, Green Bean & Tomato Salad

serves 4-5 as a side dish or 2 as a main dish

  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion (about 1/4 of a small onion)
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • coarse salt
  • 3 ears corn
  • 12 oz baby green beans
  • 6 oz (2/3 cup) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 Tablespoons roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Combine the onion and vinegar in a small bowl and let stand while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Drop in the ears of corn and green beans and set a timer for 6 minutes.  Prepare a large bowl of ice water.  When the timer goes off, immediately drain the corn and beans and transfer them to the ice bath.  When the vegetables have chilled completely, remove them from the water and pat dry with a tea towel.  Cut the ears of corn in half and slice the kernels from the cobs.  

Combine the beans, corn, tomatoes, and basil in a large bowl.  Use your fingers to pull the onion slices from the vinegar and add them to the bowl of vegetables, reserving the vinegar.  Add honey, dijon mustard, pepper, olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt to the vinegar and whisk thoroughly.  Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss.  Allow to marinate for a half an hour if possible.  Enjoy chilled or at room temperature.  

Salad will keep for three days in the refrigerator, though the vinegar will cause the beans to discolor slightly over time.