Monday, July 21, 2014

Peach & Corn Salad in Tamarind Vinaigrette (and Bonus Tomato Salad Recipe)

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Peach & Corn Salad in Tamarind Vinaigrette
Bonus: Garden Tomatoes drizzled with Soy Sauce
Serves: 4-6
Difficulty level: Easy
Peach & Corn Salad in Tamarind Vinaigrette
Bonus Recipe! Tomatoes drizzled with soy sauce (see below)

Are you tired of the same salad every night but looking for something you can throw together quickly for a mid-week meal or to impress guests? Try this one!  Corn and peaches are among my favorite summer flavors. I like combining them in both desserts and savory dishes. Roasting fruits and vegetables bring out their natural sugars, and that sweetness is perfectly complemented by the sweet and tart taste of tamarind. To achieve a smoky taste, grill the corn and peaches instead of roasting them. Nectarines, apricots and plums are all good stand-ins for the peaches. Currently my garden is full of ripened tomatoes. But, I was tired of the usual caprese salad variation. Simple is often better – especially with mid-summer vine-ripened tomatoes. Bonus blog today includes a super-simple and tasty way to serve fresh tomatoes – drizzled with soy!

Tamarind: The secret ingredient
An important ingredient in the featured salad is tamarind. The concentrate can be found in many grocers, Asian markets and Mexican markets. Tamarind comes from a tree native to tropical Africa. The tree produces edible pod-like fruit, which are used extensively in cuisines worldwide. It is best to buy the seed-free paste to avoid the hassles of soaking and seed removal. The good news, once found: tamarind can be stored at room temperature nearly indefinitely.
  • 3 sweet, ripe peaches
  • 3 large ears of corn (2-3 C kernels)
  • 3Tb grape seed or olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3Tb Thai tamarind paste, without seeds (if pulp or concentrate – see below*)
  • 1Tb white wine vinegar
  • Red leaf lettuce or butter lettuce, 2 small heads, torn

Preheat the oven to 425 degree F. Peel the peaches and cut the flesh into coarse chunks. Slice the kernels from the corncobs, and combine them with the peaches in a large bowl. Add 2 Tb of the oil, ½ tsp salt, and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper, and toss well. Spread the peaches and corn on a baking sheet, and bake, stirring every 10 minutes, for 20-30 minutes, until the corn begins to brown and peaches are very soft. Cool slightly.
Corn and peaches mixed together
While the peaches and corn roast, make the dressing. In a serving bowl, combine the shallot, tamarind, vinegar and the remaining 1Tb of oil. Season with 1 tsp salt, and marinate until corn and peaches are done, allowing the flavors to meld.
Making the dressing
When ready to serve, place lettuce in bowl, add dressing, followed by the warmed peaches and corn. Toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Give this unique and summer-y salad a try.  You will not be disappointed!

Tomato Wedges drizzled with Soy
Serves: 4-6

If your garden or farmers market are brimming with summer vine-ripened tomatoes, here is a quick slight modification guaranteed to please. I used brandywine tomatoes but any great slicing ripe tomato will work.
The ingredients of this sensational salad
  • 4-6 medium-sized tomatoes
  • Grape seed or extra-virgin olive oil
  • Quality soy sauce
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Several chives or thinly sliced scallions, garnish
  • 10 shiso leaves, cut into threads, garnish 

Right before serving your meal, core the tomatoes and slice into 6 thick wedges. Arrange 4-6 wedges on individual plates. Drizzle with a little oil, followed by soy sauce, and finish with a few drops of vinegar. This is a light dressing that just kisses the tomatoes and is not meant to drench them or overpower their innate tomato-ness. Sprinkle with garnish if desired: chopped chives, scallions and/or shiso threads. Shiso, which is also known as Japanese basil, is often found at farmer's market.  It is a member of the mint family with a citrus-y flavor. Serve tomatoes immediately.

Light, fresh and oh-so-good!


*Tamarind in the form of semidried pulp must be soaked in hot water, worked with your hands to separate flesh from seeds and fiber, and pushed through a sieve. Thai concentrate, a puree with a texture similar to applesauce, is made of tamarind and water; you can easily pass it through a sieve to remove bits of seed.

Now that you have your tamarind paste – check out Thai Chicken with Amazing Hot-Sour-Salty-Sweet Sauce, posted March 2013, which features use of tamarind.

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