Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Corn, Tomato, & Avocado Salad

Apparently the grocery stores collectively decided that the very best way to honor our war dead this Memorial Day was to have massive sales on corn. It was at least 6 ears for a dollar everywhere I went this weekend.

So I found this Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Salad recipe online, and decided we had to try it. "What's not to like?" I thought.
  • 4 ears corn, kernels removed (about 3 cups)
  • 1 1/2 pounds grape tomatoes, halved (about 3 cups)
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, diced
  • 2 medium avocados, diced
And then I saw the dressing:
  • 1 1/2 cups packed fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Although I would not go so far as to call cilantro "the most loathsome garnish of our time," I do sympathize with members of this group. And reading the reviews on the original site seemed to confirm my hunch that ONE AND A HALF PACKED CUPS of fresh cilantro might be a wee much.

So per user suggestions, I chopped about two tablespoons of cilantro, added another tablespoon of parsley, and mixed the herbs up with olive oil and some lemon juice. For the record, this resulted in a completely disgusting mixture, which was not improved when The Pit decided to add some mustard and a dash of balsamic vinegar. By the end of our experimentation, the dressing resembled one of those elementarily school lunchtime concoctions.* So much for the wisdom of crowds.

Eventually I decided to go with some salt and freshly ground pepper, a bit of chopped cilantro, and a splashing of lemon juice for the dressing. Also, since I only wanted enough salad for two people plus one lunch, I reduced the portions a bit, and my final combo looked like so:

  • 3 ears corn, kernels removed
  • 16 oz grape tomatoes, halved
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, diced
  • 1 and 1/2 medium avocados, diced
  • juice from 1/4 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste
The verdict(s)? The Pit thought that the finished product had too much avocado and not enough cilantro, while I thought that the cilantro needed to be eliminated entirely and the dressing replaced by a simple vinaigrette or maybe some grocery store Italian. Also, I'm pretty sure that next time, regular mozzarella can be substituted for fresh, with no ill effects and significantly less money spent. With a little experimentation, this salad could be a winner.

I served it with boxed Trader Joe's Creamy Tomato Soup, spiced up by a handful of grape tomatoes, 1/2 chopped avocado, freshly ground pepper, and a bit of parsley. The soup was delicious.

* The Pit looked at me like I had two heads when I mentioned this. Am I the only one that remembers the boys mixing all available liquid (and sometimes solid) lunch substances together in the middle of the lunchroom? Like, a little milk, somebody's juice box, mustard and ketchup, and then maybe a sprinkling of chips. One unfortunate would always get dared to eat the resulting mess.

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