Corn salsa is perfect for September
“But let the good old corn adorn the hills our fathers trod; still let us, for his golden corn, send up our thanks to God!” — John Greenleaf Whittier
September is pure gold for conscious cooks! The searing heat of August is giving way to cooler mornings, while the days remain suffused with sunshine. Now is the time to truly savor all the blessings of the season and cook with abandon. Farmers’ markets are filled with intensely flavored vegetables, fruits and herbs, all of it saturated with brilliant color. Even the September sky is breathtaking, a perfect shade of the clearest blue.
Blazing scarlet tomatoes, sun sweetened and fattened from plenty of vine time are joined by creamy white and glossy purple eggplant, neon bright peppers, smooth skinned yellow squash, vibrant green cucumbers, bright blueberries, rosy tinted peaches, fragrant herbs and plenty of corn are available at farmers’ markets.
Saying goodbye to summer is bittersweet, but preparing and preserving prime produce will make the transition ever so tasty. Tomato salads, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkled with crunchy sea salt and a flurry of finely minced basil are platters of pleasure. Tender eggplant slices can be breaded and fried until golden and crisp and enjoyed in delectable sandwiches with fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Prepare a favorite parmigiana recipe and make an extra pan for freezing.
Crisp cucumber pickles will last for several weeks in the refrigerator. Peaches cooked down into silky smooth peach butter, are perfect for slathering on biscuits, French toast or crepes. Corn can be stripped off the cob and frozen, those super sweet kernels will make an excellent chowder for chilly days.
One of the most succulent summer crops, sweet corn is utterly delicious and nutritious. Low in fat, corn is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which may help promote regularity and prevent constipation. Corn also contains lutein, which may support eye health and prevent hardening of the arteries, which could lead to heart attack and stroke. Sweet corn is also filled with folate, a vitamin that aids cardiovascular health and possibly prevents birth defects.
The spectacular flavor of September corn lends itself beautifully to all kinds of salads, particularly those with other bright flavors such as scallions, jalapeno, and fresh herbs. Those lovely little nuggets are divine in cornbread, fritters, pancakes, quesadillas, salsas, and soups.
When buying corn, look for ears that have lively looking silks, not dried out or brittle. The ears should feel firm and even with slightly rounded tops. Resist the urge to peel your corn at the store or market, those superb sugars will start turning starchy as soon as they are disrobed. If you can’t eat them within hours of purchasing, store overnight in the refrigerator and enjoy them the next day.
Savor September and all the great blessings of preparing a delicious life.
September Corn Salad
Serves 4 to 6
6 ears of fresh corn, shucked and silks removed
2 scallions, finely sliced or 1 small sweet onion, finely diced
¼ cup olive oil
2 ½ tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, or rice wine vinegar, or white wine vinegar
1 finely minced jalapeno or cherry pepper (optional)
¼ cup minced cilantro
¼ cup minced basil
¼ cup minced parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a pot of water to a boil and boil corn for no more than 5 minutes. Let corn cool and remove kernels from the cob. (Use a sharp knife to strip down from the top of the cob.) Place corn in a bowl and combine with first 7 ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust with more oil, vinegar or salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately or within a couple of hours.
Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, “The Conscious Cook,” writes about preparing a delicious life and presents healthy food workshops throughout New England. She is a professional cook, organic gardener, and a graduate of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and Columbia University Teacher’s College.