New Englanders wait for Sweet Corn Season all year, and for two months we delight in using it as much as possible, from breakfast to dinner, and the occasional midnight snack!
Of course, the absolute best way to eat that first ear is quickly cooked (steamed, grilled, roasted, boiled, your choice) and served with lots of butter and salt.
“That first bite, butter dripping down our chins, is worth the wait of the last ten months!”
There is nothing better our local farms could possibly offer. The moment we find the first corn, that is what we have for dinner. Corn. Nothing else is needed. That first bite, butter dripping down our chins, is worth the wait of the last ten months, and although the corn will get even sweeter as the season progresses, that first experience cannot be topped.
Ah, those summer corn recipes!
Corn is the star of succotash, always a favorite, and we’ll make several batches of corn chowder and chilled corn soup during the summer. We’ll indulge in corn bread, spider cake, and corn pudding, and, of course, corn fritters! Mostly, we’ll toss it on the grill and eat it unadorned.
Not quite your mother’s macaroni salad
My Mom was the queen of pasta salads, always ready with elbow or shell creations, usually with a mayonnaise-based dressing and often with what was fresh in the garden or farm stand. Her favorite was a simple macaroni salad with peas and canned tunafish, and we all loved it.
A new favorite pasta
This is not quite your mother’s pasta salad. I’ve used whole wheat orecchiette because I love the way corn and other small veggies such as peas nestle themselves in the “little ears.” The brand I found was imported from Italy and is bronze die-cut, which gives a coarser texture to the surface allowing sauces to cling better. I got the pasta at an Italian market, and it was not much more expensive than regular brands. Some supermarkets also carry it. It has a lovely nutty flavor and perfect texture.
Of course, you can use any orecchiette you like, or even shells in a pinch. And a gluten-free alternative pasta is perfect here!
A little wasabi for spice
I wanted to liven this salad up, and the dressing I made used wasabi to add spice, and avocados, oil, and vinegar for creaminess. I used a powdered wasabi and mixed it into a paste, but you can also find it in already in paste form. The heat from the wasabi will depend on the brand you use, so add half at first, taste, then the rest if you like, or a little more if it is mild.
The flavors are enhanced if you let this salad chill at least an hour. This makes a lot, plenty for a picnic or get together!
Corn Salad with Orecchiette Pasta and Wasabi Dressing
- 1/2 lb. Orecchiette pasta, about three cups cooked
- 6 ears of fresh cooked corn, about two cups kernels
- ½ small purple onion, small dice
- 2 tsp. wasabi powder (this will vary greatly, so taste)
- 2 tbsp. hot water
- 3 scallions, divided
- 2 ripe avocados
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. cider vinegar
- Juice of one lime, about 3 tbsp.
- 2 handfuls of arugula, coarsely chopped
- Salt and pepper
Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to the rapid boil then add 1 tbsp. of salt and the pasta. Bring back to a boil and start timing according to package directions. Mine needed 12 minutes. Stir every minute or so so they do not nestle together and stick. Once cooked, drain, and let cool.
Cook your corn any way you like. I roasted mine. I used six for this recipe, or a little over two cups of kernels. This is not an exact measurement. If you want more corn to pasta ratio, or vice versa, that is fine too!
Place the corn and cooled pasta in a large bowl along with the onion and add salt and pepper.
While the corn and pasta cook, prepare the dressing. First, mix the wasabi powder and hot water and set aside.
In a food processor or blender, combine two of the scallions, the flesh of the avocados, olive oil, vinegar, and lime juice, along with the hydrated wasabi paste. Process until nice and smooth.
Add the dressing to the corn and pasta and mix well, then add the arugula, season with more salt and pepper (this takes more than you think, but add it in stages, tasting all the way).
Chill for an hour, then plate and top with the last scallion.
© Copyright 2020– or current year, The New Vintage Kitchen. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to The New Vintage Kitchen, with active link and direction to this original post.
The New Vintage Kitchen does not accept ads or payment for mention of products or businesses.
Member of Slow Food