As the summer comes to an end and leaves begin to change, I try to take advantage of what's left of the season at the farmers' market. And while I can never get enough of the irregularly shaped tomatoes in every color this time of year, I can't help but fill my basket with sweet corn and summer squash.
At one late-summer dinner party, I threw together this salad from the leftovers I had found at the market and in my pantry. What ended up being a last-minute dish became a crowd-pleaser: the magical pairing of charred corn and raw shaved summer squash, tossed with salty feta and smoky nigella seeds.
Note: The trick to getting this salad right is to use a Japanese mandolin to get paper-thin ribbons of squash.
Grilled Corn and Summer Squash Salad with Walnuts and Feta
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test kitchen
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
4 ears of yellow corn, husked
2 poblano peppers
1 large shallot, very thinly sliced
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
6 small zucchini and/or summer squash (about 2 pounds), thinly sliced lengthwise and into rounds on a mandoline (see note above)
6 to 8 squash blossoms, torn in half (optional)
1 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
½ cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
½ cup torn mint
¼ cup finely chopped chives
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons nigella seeds (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 ounces feta, crumbled (about 1½ cups)
1. Bring your grill up to medium-high heat or heat a grill pan on medium high heat. Place the corn and peppers on the grill and cook, turning often, until tender and charred in spots, 10 to 12 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine the shallots and lemon juice and zest in a small bowl and allow the shallots to macerate for 10 minutes.
3. Transfer the corn and peppers to a clean cutting board. Remove the kernels from the cobs and place in a large bowl. Remove the stems and seeds from peppers and roughly chop and add to corn. Add the macerated shallots, zucchini and/or summer squash, squash blossoms, walnuts, parsley, mint, chives, olive oil, vinegar, red pepper flakes and nigella seeds and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Top with the feta and serve.