Summer Side Dishes: Tomatoes and Corn

I wish I could extend summer. Not for those lazy nights outdoors when the sun never sets or for hot afternoons watching a baseball game in an energetic stadium. Those are great “cherries” on the top of the deliriously lovely summer produce available now. Who doesn’t love the tart cherries or the perfect scent of a white peach? While most fruits and vegetables are offered year round at the supermarket they all experience a spike in quality over the summer. Specifically I am musing about tomatoes and corn. Once the farmers market starts to reveal heirloom tomatoes and fresh vibrant ears of corn, I am ecstatic. Combined with careful preparation that never needs to be overly complicated, a great summer side dish is born from the suns perfect ripeness of summer fruits and vegetables.

I decided to work out two of David Tanis’ side dish recipes from his book Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys. Such a great book, I really cannot say it enough. His ability to showcase food and make it elementally simple yet delicious is perfection. Buy this book please, just do it. Your family will be impressed with dishes for every season and you will be so inspired to have even more adventures in the kitchen. Here I am giving you two recipes from the book, one for Coriander Marinated Tomatoes and another for Scalloped Corn. Now, I did not follow this recipes word by word, so here I have what I did but trust me it is very similar and not too different. The corn is creamy and you will want to have scoops of it. I feel like it goes well with hearty or spiced chicken recipes or barbecued meat, but try it with whatever you feel like. I had the tomatoes with a salad but use them instead of just regular chopped tomatoes in whatever recipe you are thinking of. Of course if you are like me, eat them like a snack. Enjoy.

Scalloped Corn 

[David Tanis’ recipe from Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys]

  •    2 tablespoons butter
  •    1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  •    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  •    Pinch of cayenne
  •    1½ cups half-and-half
  •    Around 3 cups of corn kernels, from around 4 to 6 ears of corn
  •     2 egg yolks
  •    ½ cup fresh bread crumbs
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 10-inch baking dish.
  2. Melt the two tablespoons butter over medium heat in a medium skillet, and soften the onion with a little salt, about five minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, season with salt and pepper and cayenne, and stir well with a wooden spoon.
  3. Slowly add the half-and-half and stir well as the sauce thickens. Add the corn kernels and simmer for two minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Remove from the heat.
  4. Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl, and stir into the corn mixture.
  5. Pour the corn mixture into the baking dish. Scatter the bread crumbs over the top and dot with butter if desired. Bake for about thirty minutes, or until golden.

Tomatoes with Coriander Vinaigrette 

[Another recipe, very close to it, from David Tanis’ Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys except without olives, because they do not tickle me pink]

  •    2 pounds ripe tomatoes, any kind you like
  •    1 garlic clove, smashed to a paste with a little salt
  •    2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  •    ½ cup olive oil
  •    1 teaspoon ground coriander
  •    Pinch of cayenne
  •    2 teaspoons dried or fresh basil
  1. In a small bowl mix the vinaigrette, starting with the garlic, vinegar and some salt and pepper. Stir in the olive oil. Add the coriander and cayenne.
  2. Cut the tomatoes into think slices or cut smaller tomatoes in half. Arrange in a random pattern on a large serving platter. Season lightly with salt.
  3. Just before serving add the basil to the vinaigrette and spoon on top over the tomatoes.
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