Raw Corn Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, and Herbs
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In this super summery salad, raw corn unites with halved cherry tomatoes, feta, and lots of herbs. A simple olive oil and lime dressing gives the salad a salsa-like brightness and freshness. This is one of my favorite salads to make when the local sweet corn begins arriving.
Last week, as a side dish for dinner, I made Mark Bittman’s raw corn salad with tomatoes, feta, and mint. My husband took one bite and said, “It’s good,” adding as he put down his spoon: “But too much corn.”
Too much corn in the corn salad?!
Oh for Pete’s sake. If he weren’t always (nearly) spot on, I might have protested, or taken offense, or responded as my mother might have, with an “mmm hmm.” Instead, I began adding more tomatoes, feta, and herbs to the heap of corn until reds, greens, and whites punctuated the yellow ball pit. I squeezed in some fresh lime juice, too, for some extra acidity and after taking one bite, I thought: He was right.
The local sweet corn (here in upstate New York at least) at the moment needs barely more than a pinch of salt. But even so, raw corn doesn’t mind rubbing elbows with all of its seasonal pals. Here, it’s tomatoes and herbs, but the simple formula could be riffed on endlessly: diced bell peppers, cilantro, scallions, shaved raw zucchini or roasted eggplant, diced mozzarella, Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese would all work well here.
This is a perfect summery side dish—I first served it aside skewers of chicken tzatziki and warm pita—but it can easily be transformed into more of a stand-alone dish with the addition of beans or grains. Chickpeas are particularly good, and their inclusion makes the salad incredibly substantial. With a hunk of bread and a few salted cucumber spears, dinner can be done. As Bittman notes, “In midsummer, with a couple of thick tomato slices, there is nothing better.”
How to Make a Raw Corn Salad, Step by Step
Gather your ingredients:
Halve the cherry tomatoes:
Remove the kernels from 4 ears of corn. This is Samin Nosrat’s trick for stripping corn kernels from cobs: Line a large, wide shallow bowl or plate with a tea towel. Use one hand to hold an ear of corn in place upright, pinching the ear at the top. Use your other hand and a chef’s knife to cut off two to three rows of kernels at a time by sliding the knife down the cob, cutting as close to the cob as possible.
Combine the corn and tomatoes in a bowl with lots of herbs: a mix of basil and chives or mint is nice.
Toss with olive oil, fresh lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
Slice or crumble up feta.
I love this feta: Maplebrook Farm feta from Vermont … it’s truly the best feta I’ve ever tasted.
Add the feta to the bowl and toss to combine.
Transfer to a serving platter, and serve immediately. Note: This salad is definitely best eaten right away—the tomatoes deteriorate quickly and the herbs lose their vibrant green color. If you want to get a headstart on dinner preparations, make the salad leaving out the tomatoes and herbs, then toss them in just before serving.Print
Inspired by this Mark Bittman recipe, this is an absolute favorite late-summer, early fall salad when the local corn is irresistible.
- If you’d like to make this ahead, hold the tomatoes and the herbs and add them just before serving.
- Feta: I prefer in-brine varieties, but any will do. If you can find Maplebrook Farms feta, buy it! It’s truly special.
- 4 ears corns, shucked
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 ounces feta, crumbled or sliced (I prefer thin slices these days)
- 1 cup chopped or torn basil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped chives or mint
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 4 to 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
- 1 lime, halved and juiced, to yield about 3 tablespoons
- Line a shallow bowl or plate with a kitchen towel. Use one hand to hold an ear of corn in place upright atop the kitchen towel. With your other hand, use a knife to cut off two to three rows of kernels at a time by sliding the knife down the cob. Get as close to the cob as you can.
- Transfer corn to a bowl with the tomatoes, and herbs. Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper to taste. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice. Toss and taste. Add another 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste) if necessary and more pepper to taste. If it needs more acidity, add more lime. If it needs more dressing, drizzle in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Toss.
- Add the feta and toss again. Serve immediately. (See notes above if you’d like to make this ahead of time.)
- Category: Salad
- Method: Toss
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: raw, corn, salad, basil, tomatoes, feta, lime, summer